Having to do more, with not enough resources to do it properly, is always going to be tricky. This was the challenge facing Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan as he delivered the budget for 2017-18. Introducing a new income tax bracket for high income earners and compliance with the Common Reporting Standard would see the assets of South Africans held offshore disclosed more accurately, and taxed. While the forecasts move in the correct direction, the acid test is whether they can be achieved. To begin with, GDP growth is estimated at 0.5% for 2016, rising moderately to 2.2% by 2019. It is important that this growth base be estimated as accurately as possible as it influences a wide number of key financial stability ratios. For instance, the budget deficit for 2017-18 is penciled in at 3.1% of GDP, thereafter falling progressively to 2.6% in the 2019-20 fiscal year. If growth in any of these periods were to be lower, the forecasts would, in tandem, also deteriorate, unless accompanied ...

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