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Budget icebergs Nene has to navigate

25 February 2015 - 02:26 By TJ Strydom
Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene
Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene

Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene will table his first national Budget today.

Here are some of the worries that have been keeping the economists awake at night.

  • Will there be a sharply higher fuel levy? Higher income taxes? A wealth tax?
  • Will he be able to stabilise government debt or will South Africa have to keep borrowing to pay its running expenses?
  • How will he fund struggling state-owned enterprises such as Eskom, SAA and the SABC? Nene says he will do it in a "deficit-neutral" way - without running up more state debt.
  • He c ould achieve this by passing on the funding costs to the users of the enterprises' services, which would mean higher electricity tariffs.
  • Will the proposed national health insurance plan get the go-ahead and have funding set aside for it?
  • What about other taxes, such as the long-mooted carbon tax?
  • Is the government doing enough to keep its expenditure under control? Is it employing fewer people in the public service and cutting back on waste in procurement?
  • What big announcements are looming about the way in which municipalities, many of which are struggling, finance themselves?