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Gauteng finance MEC cuts costs, plans R38.2bn for infrastructure

Revenue generation strategy to be introduced in the 2015/16 budget.

Gauteng finance MEC Barbara Creecy on Tuesday announced cost cuts to non-core areas in a bid to save money and “ensure value for money”.

“Firstly, reprioritisation remains crucial in directing resources to the radical transformation, modernisation and re-industrialisation (TMR) programme of the Gauteng city region,” Creecy said in her budget speech prepared for delivery.

To date, R7.3 billion had been re-directed to these city region priorities.

In a bid to save money Creecy announced a 21% cost reduction on venues and facilities, 1.5% on travel and subsistence, seven percent on communication, 9% on catering, 0.5% on advertising, and 25% on administration fees.

She said another tool for ensuring value for money was a well-performing supply chain management function.

In the 2015/16 budget a revenue generation strategy would be introduced.

“Over the 2015 MTEF [medium-term expenditure framework], we expect own revenue to increase by an annual average of 10%.

“I am happy to announce today that we expect to exceed our 2014/15 revenue target by R400 million, a welcome boost in these tough times,” Creecy said.

She tabled a R95.3 billion budget for the provincial government on Tuesday.

National transfers in the form of the provincial equitable share and conditional grants amounted to R73.5 billion and R17.1 billion respectively.

Provincial own revenue amounted to R4.5 billion, or 5% of the budget.

Creecy announced that R3.1 billion had been allocated for infrastructure funding in the central development corridor — which focused on the financial sector, ICT, and pharmaceutical industries.

A total of R2 billion would be spent in the eastern corridor on manufacturing, logistics, and transport industries.

Another R2 billion would be allocated to the northern development corridor, which was anchored around the capital city, the automotive sector, and the knowledge-based economy.

The western development corridor would get R1.4 billion to focus on new blue and green economic initiatives, tourism, agro-processing, and logistics.

The southern corridor, anchored around river tourism and agro-processing, would get just over R1.5 billion, said Creecy.

The provincial and local spheres of government combined would spend just over R100 billion on physical assets and capital transfers in the city region.

The province had allocated R38.2 billion for infrastructure over the 2015 medium-term.

Creecy said the Gauteng legislature was increasing its committees and public participation and therefore an additional R45 million was added to its baseline, increasing the budget from R537 million in 2014/15 to R673.7 million in 2017/18.

The province’s health budget was increased by R496 million for, among other things, medical supplies and medicine. The department was allocated R34 billion this year.

The budget for social development jumped from R2.14 billion in 2011/12 to R4 billion in 2015/16, she said.

The provincial education department continued to receive the largest share of the provincial budget and was allocated R36 billion.

The community safety department received R189.6 million.

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