As expected, this was a conservative budget with no sweeping changes to most forms of taxation. The Finance Minister took advantage of some new revenue sources such as carbon taxes, but, for the most part, continued to stick to the script of limiting bracket creep adjustment, sin taxes and fuel levies to raise more money.
The stakes have never been higher, and despite Minister Tito Mboweni’s always-jovial presence in parliament as he tabled Budget 2019, his words prepared us for the bitter medicine that must be swallowed before we can experience economic recovery.
Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s maiden Budget speech is a structural reform budget, which aims to reduce the immediate fiscal and economic risks posed by Eskom’s and other State Owned Enterprises’ (SOEs) unsustainable balance sheets and operational models.
In the 2019 State of the Nation Address, our President set out an ambitious agenda for our nation. It is an agenda that speaks to the South Africa that we can be. It is a task list for all of us. It lays out a series of interventions that will put South Africa on a bold new path.
Against the backdrop of the weakening Rand, the pain point of the increased marginal tax rate of 45 per cent, the increase in the VAT rate by 1 percent in April 2018 and the decline in household spend, can South Africans really afford another tax rate hike?
South Africa recently tightened its transfer pricing and disclosure requirements, implementing global standards. This was an important step to enable the South African Revenue Service (SARS) to enforce transfer pricing rules and to counter undesired base erosion through profit shifting. However, the question remains what else can be done to address impermissible transfer (mis-) pricing and to stimulate investment into South Africa, as tax collections have not been where they should be and it is expected that further expenditure will be proposed in the 2019 Budget?
When Finance Minister Tito Mboweni gives his Budget Speech for the 2019/20 tax year next week (20 February), I hope to hear examples of how the government will work towards boosting South Africa’s ranking in The World Bank's annual 'Doing Business Report'. Given that India climbed 23 positions in this year’s ranking and that South Africa ranked 32nd just a decade ago, this goal is highly achievable.
Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni, delivers his first Budget Speech on 20 February at a difficult time for the South African economy. Even though President Cyril Ramaphosa has done much to restore business confidence in his first year in office, GDP growth remains weak, government finances are in relatively poor shape, and renewed load shedding is hurting business confidence.