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#BudgetSpeech2019: Budget spending has to focus on getting our country ready for technology

February 20, 2019 • Finance, Southern Africa, Top Stories

Tito Titus Mboweni, South African Minister of Finance

South African Minister of Finance, Tito Titus Mboweni, delivered the 2019 Budget Speech on Wednesday, 20 February, addressing government expenditure as set out for the year.

“As we look to the future, I see the following huge shifts in society and the world,” Mboweni said on the topic of technology.

“The first is the rise of technology. Twenty-five years ago, the Budget was prepared on reams of paper, carefully stapled together. I reviewed this speech on my tablet, and you can keep track of the speech on Twitter right now,” said the minister.

Data costs

As mobile data pricing remains relatively high in the country, citizens were eagerly waiting for the minister to address the issue.

Ahead of the new ICASA regulation rollout. the minister said, “My fellow Minister will shortly be issuing policy direction to ICASA for the licensing of spectrum. I will work relentlessly with the Minister until this matter is resolved. This includes resourcing ICASA for this mandate.

Education

During the SONA2019, the president of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa announced the governments plans to digitalize South African schools.

Minister Mboweni reiterated this by emphasizing the need to improve the education system and develop digital skills by investing funds. “Over R30 billion is allocated to build new schools and maintain schooling infrastructure. But to make certain these schools are effective centres of learning will also require parents to be a visible and constructive part in the governance of schools,” said the minister.

“Our budget spending has to focus on getting our country ready for technology. The first step is to fix the education system. Government is rolling out a maths and science grant,” said Mboweni.

Over the medium term government will spend R111.2bn to ensure that 2.8m deserving students from poor and working-class families obtain their qualifications at universities and TVET colleges.

Fintech

The minister revealed that the Governor of the South African Reserve Bank is driving an ambitious FinTech programme, together with colleagues from the other financial-sector regulators.

He said that the country needs to redouble efforts to attract highly-skilled people to South Africa.

“Their skills are complementary to our own. We need to free our entrepreneurs from stifling regulations and complicated taxes. We will continue to work closely with our partners in the BRICS, the African Development Bank and the South African Customs Union,” said the minister.

You can read the speech for yourself or watch the live stream as it aired on the Parliament of the Republic of South Africa YouTube channel below:

By Daniëlle Kruger
Follow Daniëlle Kruger on Twitter
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