February is a crucial month for South Africa on the economic calendar, with the State of the Nation address shortly followed by the national budget speech. The announcement of this year’s budget is particularly anxiously awaited, as the government has to deal with a sharp decline in tax revenues, cope with a shrinking economy and avoid a fiscal cliff.
The Covid Crisis has knocked South Africa’s already-teetering economy, forcing government and its citizens to find the means to deal with both the health and economic crises.
Watch this video from the webinar, analysing the 2021 Budget, with Moneyweb Editor Ryk van Niekerk, economists Dr Iraj Abedian and Isaah Mhlanga and tax practitioner Yolandi Esterhuizen.
Dr Iraj Abedian
Founder and Chief Executive of Pan-African Investment
Dr Abedian is the founder and Chief Executive of Pan-African Investment and Research Services (Pty) Ltd and Executive Chairman of Pan-African Capital Holdings (Pty) Ltd. He was professor of economics at the University of Cape Town, before entering the business sector in 2000.
He received his PhD in Economics from Simon Fraser University in Canada in 1993. He has served as a consultant on economic policy issues to public and private sector organizations in South Africa as well as internationally. His involvement in policy development in South Africa includes: The Transformation of the Development Bank of Southern Africa (1995), the RDP White Paper (1995), Growth, Employment and Redistribution (GEAR 1996), Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF 1997/98), the Presidential Review Commission (PRC 1997/98), membership of the President’s Economic Advisory Panel 2006-2009 and Economic Advisor to Minister of Mineral Resources of SA Government (Feb. 2010 to July 2012).
During September to December 1999, Dr Abedian was based at the IMF, Washington D.C., working on issues related to fiscal vulnerability assessment. In January 2000, he joined The Standard Bank Group at their head office in Johannesburg as Group Chief Economist. He was appointed Director and Group Economist in April 2000, and was a member of the Standard Bank Group EXCO. In 2003, Association of Black Securities and Investment Professionals (ABSIP) awarded him the title of “Top Economist of the Year”.
Chief Economist of Alexander Forbes.
In this position, Mhlanga is responsible for formulating the macroeconomic strategy for the business, which entails identifying systemic economic risks and opportunities that benefit the business and its clients. He contributes to Alexander Forbes investment process through generating the macro framework for asset allocation and investment committee.
His experience span both public sector and private sector, having started his professional career as an economist at the local office of the International Monetary Fund before joining the National Treasury’s economic policy unit. He later worked for Absa Capital and Rand Merchant Bank’s economic research covering global and domestic macroeconomics and forecasting the domestic macroeconomy.
Mhlanga has also lectured undergraduate economics and econometrics at the University of Johannesburg. He is columnist for Business Day and Fin24. In 2019, Mhlanga was named Economist of the year by the Association of Black Securities and Investment Professionals (ABSIP).
Director, Product Compliance, Africa & Middle East at Sage
Esterhuizen oversees the interpretation and implementation of tax, labour and protection of personal information legislation into Sage’s HR & payroll as well as accounting products across Africa and the Middle East. She brings to her role expert knowledge and consulting experience in tax and labour law, including PAYE, Employment Tax Incentive, Employment Equity, Skills Development and Labour Relations.
Esterhuizen is an admitted Advocate of the High Court of South Africa and a registered tax practitioner. She holds a B.Com Financial Risk Management degree from the North-West University, an LLB degree from the University of South Africa, and a graduate certificate in Advanced Taxation from the University of Pretoria.
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