If steps were not taken in the 2018-19 budget to stabilise debt, SA would have had to go cap in hand to multilateral institutions — such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) — to seek financial assistance, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba said on Thursday.The minister briefed members of Parliament’s select and standing committees on appropriations and finance on the "tough" budget proposals he tabled on Wednesday. The budget sees a consolidation of debt and a reduction in the budget deficit over the next three years. It also proposed a one percentage point increase in the rate of VAT, which together with other tax measures will raise R36bn in additional revenue.While tough decisions had been necessary, these decisions had been taken by the government on its own terms as a sovereign nation, Gigaba said."Had we decided not to stabilise the debt whilst we have these needs that we have to fulfil, obviously one of the sacrifices we would have had to make is our own sovereignty in terms...

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