Agriculture, rural development score in Creecy’s people-centred budget

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PORT ELIZABETH, March 6 – Presenting her R132.4 billion budget for the 2019/2020 financial year, Finance MEC Barbara Creecy on Tuesday said the budget would favour the most vulnerable in society, with the bulk of it allocated to health, education and social services.

“The budget sets out how provincial government fund its commitment to transform the economy and create jobs, support particularly township enterprises, invest in economic and social infrastructure to improve living conditions of citizens and promote social cohesion to secure a future for all residents,” Creecy said.

With an increase of R9.2 billion more than last year’s budget, Creecy said, “we remain on the side of the most vulnerable in our society” and allocated 81% or R105. 6 billion for health, education and social services.

Gauteng surpassed its annual revenue targets every year, Creecy said, this year collecting more than R20 billion in own revenue to date.

“This is the highest amount raised by any provincial government and goes a long way to explaining why we have managed to keep the finances of the province afloat,” she said.

A total budget of R900 million has been allocated to Agriculture and Rural Development and these resources will be used for farmer support, mainstream urban agriculture, food gardens and agro-processing, she said.

The Department of e-Government has been allocated R1.4 billion for the Broadband Network and implementation of a common platform for the Gauteng City Region’s e-services to support the modernisation of Provincial Government.

The MEC allocated R49.9 billion of the budget to improve the quality of public schooling system and enhance skills development, including R3.7 billion for
direct transfers to Public Ordinary Schools, Early Childhood Development sites and Special Schools

R2.9 billion has been allocated for the special school sector which caters for learners with intellectual and other disabilities and R815 million is allocated for e-learning devices ande-LTSM, which will continue to transform township schools into functional ICT-enabled learning spaces, the MEC said.

Creecy said Gauteng continued to prioritise helping young people cross the difficult path from school to the world of work. Accordingly, half a billion rand has been set aside in this budget specifically for youth development initiatives, including R124 million for Tshepo One Million

R45.6 million has also been allocated for the welfare to work programme which will help 46,160 women, including single mothers, to move from dependence on child care grants to sustainable self-supporting economic activity.

– African News Agency (ANA)