The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Mpumalanga is concerned that less important government departments received bigger budget increases than departments that are capable of creating jobs and improving service delivery for the people.
While delivering his R54 billion budget speech in Mbombela on Tuesday, Mpumalanga MEC for Finance Pat Ngomane missed an opportunity to increase budgets of the following departments: Public Works Roads and Transport (PWRT), and Human Settlements. These are two departments that are capable of creating jobs and delivery quality services for the people. He cut the budgets of both departments by 6.7% and 7% respectively.
Instead, Ngomane increased his department (Finance) and the office of the Premiers budgets with more than 20%; the biggest percentage increase as compared to other departments. This does not sit well with the DA because these are non-essential departments in the province.
The MEC also expect the department of Economic Development to drive economic growth in the province alongside Tourism, yet he only increased their budget with a lousy 7%.
According to the Provincial Government, Agriculture was mandated to assist with job creation this financial year; however their budget was increased with a mere 3%. How do they expect this department to create jobs if they’re not giving it more money? With commercial farmers decreasing in numbers every year, more funds must have been allocated to this department to ensure our emerging farmer as well as Community Property Associations are successful.
There is no better way to serve people than investing more money in departments that are capable of creating jobs and departments that can deliver better services such as water, electricity, housing and roads.
Ngomane’s budget needed to be allocated in a manner that ensures growth. Growth of the economy equals growth of opportunities for our people. With unemployment rate of 42.1% amongst the youth; the MEC’s budget failed to address the issue of job creation.
Small, Medium & Micro Enterprise (SMMEs) support should have also featured heavily in the budget as they are greatest potential for job creation. But he said little about them.
The DA also hopes that the fresh Produce market will be completed and become operational in this financial year – as this could become one of Mpumalanga’s economy drivers capable of creating jobs.