With finance minister Tito Mboweni’s latest medium-term budget policy statement a few days away, it is hard to shake the feeling that he possibly shouldn’t bother.

To get a sense of why, it might be worth going back more than two decades, when Trevor Manuel presented one of these for the first time and the rationale at the time. The conditions today could not be more different to 1997, when the then finance minister introduced medium-term budgeting to “make it possible to engage in a rational and focused process of resource allocation stretching beyond the immediate.”..

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