Finance Minister Tito Mboweni gave a glimpse of the dilemma he is wrestling with as he prepares to deliver his Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement next week.
Replying to debate on the Special Appropriation Bill on Tuesday, Mboweni gave Members of Parliament a long list of the demands on him and the fiscus since he took up the position last October.
This month marks a year since he climbed into the hot seat after Nhlanhla Nene resigned.
“One of the things which I’ve learnt since assuming office is that the minister of finance is burdened with having to find resources for Eskom, for South African Airways, South African Express, Denel, Alexkor and then a huge bill for the compensation of employees, many programmes that must be funded amidst an ageing and overburdened infrastructure – within the context of declining tax revenues due to low economic growth.
“So, when I hear members say, ‘Eskom must be funded!’ I say, OK, I agree, but tell me where I should take the money from,” Mboweni said.
The Special Appropriations Bill, which was approved by the National Assembly on Tuesday, will provide Eskom with R59 billion spread over the rest of this year and the next financial year.
It has to be approved by the National Council of Provinces before the President can sign it into law.
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