BJC accuses govt of focusing on debt reduction at expense of the economy

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The coalition which, comprises various civil society groups, said over the past five years, resources for public services have been cut while additional public funds have been channelled towards poorly managed and non-performing state-owned entities.

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG – The Budget Justice Coalition (BJC) has accused government of focusing on debt reduction at the expense of the economy and failing to tackle inequality through its economic reforms.

The coalition which, comprises various civil society groups, said over the past five years, resources for public services have been cut while additional public funds have been channelled towards poorly managed and non-performing state-owned entities.

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This comes ahead of Finance Minister Tito Mboweni‘s tabling of the Mid-Term Budget Policy Statement in Parliament next Wednesday.

The coalition said it expected next week’s Medium-Term Budget to be geared at austerity with little to reverse paralysing poverty and inequality.

As a proposed blueprint, the body has tabled what it’s calling the Imali Yesizwe Budget Statement.

The suggested plan outlines ways in which the country can spend and collect money differently in order to safeguard human rights.

The Budget Justice Coalition said growing the economy must include a targeted social and economic stimulus plan.

The organisation’s Dominique Brown said government’s current policies would deepen the country’s economic stagnation.

Brown said funding basic services including health, education, social development and other critical institutions shouldn’t be considered a by-product of economic growth, it should instead be the centre of growth.

“Austerity, or what government is calling fiscal consolidation negatively impacts on the poor, increased inequality, a deterioration of services and unemployment.”

Brown said among others, a human rights-centred budget would consider a living wage, greener economy, issues of mental health and gender-based violence.

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