The School of Accounting, Economics and Finance’s Macroeconomics Working Group (MWG) hosted a Post budget debate to enable participants to share views on the 2017 National Budget.
Academic and Economist Mr Ayanda Meyiwa delivered a presentation titled: “On the Country’s Vision, the State of the Nation and the National Budget 2017”, while UKZN’s Academic Leader, Taxation, Dr Suren Pillay, gave an overview of the tax implications.
Meyiwa’s talk focused on the growth of the country’s economy and factors that hinder it such as inequality, poverty and unemployment.
‘The growth of our economy is dependent less on people applying for jobs and more on looking at entrepreneurship as a source of job creation,’ he said. ‘This involves investing in education and skills development. The fact that debt is increasing is a worrying factor as it will take years for South Africa to recover and reach the targets set by the National Development Plan.’
Sugar tax, a proposed VAT increase and the fuel levy were among topics covered by Pillay.
‘The tax side does not look very good for us as we have a large deficit and SARS targets have been increasing every year,’ said Pillay. ‘It is probably not surprising that a new tax bracket has been introduced making our tax system more progressive. VAT is a big contributor to tax and would be good for our deficit but hard on the consumer as it will mean they have to pay more.’
MWG founder and the School’s Academic Leader for Higher Degrees and Research, Dr Harold Ngalawa, said debates such as these were vital because the Budget was of national interest and everyone needed know how it affected them.
‘As academics, we need to sit down and share our knowledge on topical issues of national importance such as the national budget,’ he said.
‘My personal opinion is that the Budget was flat and void of a vision to take the country out of its persistently poor economic performance.
‘It was perfect as an accounting exercise aimed at seeing government and the country through another year but it failed to provide hope that the fiscal authorities have solid plans to grow the country, create jobs, fight inflation and stabilise the economy generally.’