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2022 Budget speech requires action

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“We are cautiously optimistic that the Treasury will accelerate infrastructure investment, which it acknowledges is the backbone of a thriving economy.” This was the reaction of Francois Wilken, President of Free State Agriculture (FSA) to Minister Enoch Godongwana’s 2022 budget speech.

According to Wilken, 50% of the agricultural sector’s income is generated by exports. “We would like to see more emphasis placed on rural road infrastructure, with export infrastructure also a priority”.

If the budget is read in conjunction with the forthcoming Division of Revenue Amendment Bill, Free State Agriculture hopes that the Free State province will be able to utilize these funds to accelerate infrastructure development / repairs.

“We encourage the civil sector to make proposals for road and civil projects that boost agriculture, to apply for the R17.5 billion infrastructure catalytic projects fund.”

Wilken believes it is good news that the fuel tax and levies will not be increased.

FSA, however, is disappointed that nothing has been pertinently said about the current flood disaster classification. Mention has been made of a R10 billion contingency reserve and FSA expresses the hope that it will be available for effective disaster relief if and when necessary.

FSA welcomes the apparent change of direction to reduce the country’s fiscal deficit. Although it is a recognition that the state is too “large”, the austerity measures needed for this are still not clear.