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The Eastern Cape’s health and education departments will receive almost three-quarters of the provincial government’s R87.8bn 2022/2023 budget.
The education department is to receive R38bn, while the health department will get R27bn, finance MEC Mlungisi Mvoko said on Tuesday in his budget speech at the legislature in Bhisho.
The budget comes amid a 1.8% contraction in the province’s GDP in the last quarter of 2021.
“The 2022 medium-term main policy priorities are economic recovery and fiscal consolidation as we tread these uncharted territories,” Mvoko said. “This budget is characterised with budget reprioritisation, balancing the liquidity of the provincial revenue fund. This means we cannot do everything we want at the same time.”
Government salaries remain the biggest budget item, accounting for accounting for two-thirds of expenditure, he said.
Mvoko said the health and education departments posed a liquidity risk to the province.
“In each term of government, we are always faced with challenges in one form or another from the departments of health and education. As the provincial government, supported by the legislature, we are addressing these challenges,” he said.
“From the perspective of health, in particular, we have elevated the interventions we embarked upon in the recent past to deal decisively with the issue of medico-legal claims, which account for the biggest part of these challenges.
“In additions, we are working with the department to improve efficiencies across the system focusing on [several] pillars. This includes optimisation of budget, increase income streams, decrease losses and manage risk, digitalisation and efficiencies and cost saving.”
Mvoko said the Coega Development Corporation was at the heart of the recovery for the province.
“To improve our competitiveness in the delivery of infrastructure, we have appointed the Coega Development Corporation to co-ordinate our infrastructure delivery programmes and assist with packaging our infrastructure projects.
“This arrangement is also aimed at enhancing our chances of getting funding from sources such as the budget facility for infrastructure and sustainable infrastructure development symposium, including the private sector.”
The department of transport will get R4.9bn, social development R2.7bn, human settlements R2.4bn, rural development and agrarian reform R2.3bn, economic development, environmental affairs and tourism R1.3bn, and co-operative governance and traditional affairs R1bn.
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Published by Arena Holdings and distributed with the Financial Mail on the last Thursday of every month except December and January.