JOHN DLUDLU: Covid-19 gives impetus to plans for public sector wage cuts
Finance minister has a tough task drawing up a budget for a Covid-19 economy
The 2020/2021 budget speech delivered by finance minister Tito Mboweni in February has, like most other plans, been upended by the Covid-19 pandemic. In just a little more than a month he will unveil fresh plans for the government to finance the emergency budget to save lives and livelihoods during and after coronavirus.
Among other things, in the February speech Mboweni proposed cutting the public service wage bill by about R160bn over the medium term. He went on to say that “the employer has tabled an agenda item on the management of the public service wage bill at the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council ... the focus is to discuss containment of costs in the final phase of implementation of the current wage agreement. We aim to save R37.8bn in the next financial year.”