Barely three weeks into the job, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s first medium-term budget policy statement will be a baptism of fire. The statement, most of which was drafted under the leadership of former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene, has a lot riding on it. The medium-term budget is a plan of the government’s strategic spending priorities over the next three years. After a disastrous medium-term budget was presented in 2017, the pressure is mounting. Mboweni, who was the Reserve Bank governor a decade ago, is unlikely to be a deer in the headlights this week when he delivers the statement, given his wealth of experience working alongside the National Treasury. It is, however, unusual for a finance minister to have so little time to prepare such an important policy statement. The consolation is that any tough decisions that need to be made will be presented in February’s budget. Mboweni’s biggest challenge now will be to present a credible statement that staves off any further cr...

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