Over the years, SA has entrenched its reputation as a global leader in budget transparency. This is clear from the expansive budget information that is published for public scrutiny each year, as well as from SA’s performance in international budget surveys. "There was a time, back in the 1980s, when all you wanted to know from the budget was government’s assumption on the gold price, because tax revenue from the gold mines accounted for 25% of government tax revenue," recalls Sanlam economic adviser Jac Laubscher. In those days the public had access only to the budget speech and tables of numbers. Budget transparency has evolved steadily over time. In 1993, the Budget Review document was introduced. It has become an extensive resource of around 235 pages, presenting an enormous amount of information on fiscal policy across eight chapters. The next big evolution came in October 1999, when treasury held its first-ever medium-term budget. In these budgets it sets out its spending, rev...

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