Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba. Photo: DoC

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba. Photo: DoC

A mandate paper proposed by government will see programmes that are misaligned with the National Development Plan (NDP) cut in order to strengthen the alignment of the national budget.

The announcement was made by Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba on Wednesday during his Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS).

The paper, which was prepared by the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME), serves as a Cabinet-endorsed mandate against which departments and public agencies should refine their plans and budget proposals.

The purpose is to strengthen alignment of the national budget, the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) and NDP during the final 24 months of the current administration.

“The paper observes that on the current trends, South Africa is unlikely to achieve its NDP goals. It also notes that there will be no additional funds available to increase baseline expenditure over the 2018 Budget, and some programmes might have to be cut to meet unanticipated spending pressures,” noted the MTBPS.

Seven focus areas to streamline spending

The Mandate Paper establishes key expenditure priorities and identifies focus areas that should be addressed in the 2018 Budget.

Reducing spending on consultants; establishing strict limits on contingent liabilities and litigation costs, and ensuring that the initiatives of the Office of the Chief Procurement Officer take effect are some of the suggestions that the document makes to departments.

With regards to the 2018 Budget, the Mandate Paper states that youth development should include developing business opportunities for youth, including access to the internet, as well as scaling up labor-intensive programmes, learnerships and artisan training.

The MTBPS gave an update of the plan. The Budget Facility on Infrastructure, ran by National Treasury and the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission, received 59 project submissions, with an aggregate funding requirement of R135 billion. Several projects have been recommended for detailed appraisal.