Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan went against expectations and delivered a stress-free National Budget on Wednesday afternoon in the Parliament. The budget also proved all expectations of tax hikes and spending cuts amid tough economic times wrong.
There was no increase on the personal income tax rates as expected following Nene’s move last year.
The budget also showed a new tyre levy and a tax on sweetened beverages which will also be introduced.
The Structure Of The Budget
~The budget deficit will fall from 3.2% in 2016/17 to 2.4% in 2018/19 (3.9% in 2015/16).
~Debt stock as a percentage of GDP is expected to stabilise at 46.2% in 2017/18 (43.7% in 2017/18).
~Government will lower the expenditure ceiling by R10 billion in 2017/18 and R15 billion in 2018/19 by reducing public sector compensation budgets.
~An additional R18.1 billion of tax revenue will be raised in 2016/17, with R15 billion more in each of the subsequent two years.
~Government has responded to new spending needs without compromising expenditure limits. An amount of R31.8 billion has been reprioritised over the medium-term expenditure framework period to support higher education, the New Development Bank and other priorities.
Spending Programmes Over The Next Three Years
~R457.5 billion on social grants.
~R93.1 billion on transfers to universities, while the National Student Financial Aid Scheme receives R41.2 billion.
~R707.4 billion on basic education, including R45.9 billion for subsidies to schools, R38.3 billion for infrastructure, and R14.9 billion for learner and teacher support materials.
~R108.3 billion for public housing.
~R102 billion on water resources and bulk infrastructure.
~R171.3 billion on transfers of the local government equitable share to support the expansion of access of poor households to free basic services.
~R30.3 billion to strengthen and improve the national non-toll road network.
~R13.5 billion to Metrorail and Shosholoza Meyl to subsidise passenger trips and long-distance passengers.
~R10.2 billion for manufacturing development incentives.
~R4.5 billion for national health insurance pilot districts.
~An amount of R9.5 billion will be raised through increases in excise duties, the general fuel levy and environmental taxes.
~Limited fiscal drag relief of R5.5 billion will be implemented for individuals, focusing on lower- and middle-income earners.
~Adjustments to capital gains tax and transfer duty will raise R2 billion. The effective rate on capital gains tax for individuals will rise from 13.7% to 16.4%, and for companies from 18.6% to 22.4%. Transfer duty on property sales above R10 million will be raised from 11% tot 13% from March 1 2016.
~Government proposes to introduce a sugar tax on 1 April 2017 to help reduce excessive sugar intake.
A tyre levy will be implemented, effective October 1 2016.
~The general fuel levy will be raised by 30c/litre to R2.85/l for petrol and R2.70/l for diesel, effective April 6 2016.
~The Road Accident Fund levy will stay the same on 154c/l as it will be replaced by the Road Accident Benefit Scheme.
~Tax credits on medical scheme contributions are increased to maintain the current level of relief in real terms.
The plastic bag levy is increased from 6c to 8c per bag.
~Personal income tax will bring in 37.5% of government revenue, company tax 16.9%, VAT 25.6% and fuel levies 5.5%.
Hikes On Sin Taxes
~Fortified wine 27c/750ml;
~Ciders and alcoholic fruit beverages 11c/340ml;
~Unfortified wine 18c/750ml; sparkling wine 59c/750ml;
~Cigarettes 82c/packet of 20;
~Cigarette tobacco 94c/50g;
~Pipe tobacco 27c/25g;
~GDP growth is estimated 1.3% in 2015, 0.9%% in 2016, 1.7% in 2017 and 2.4% in 2018. This is considerably lower than last year’s estimates.
~Export growth is expected to grow by 9.5% in 2015, 3.0% in 2016 and 4.6% in 2017 while imports will grow an estimated 5.3% in 2015, 3.7% in 2017 and 4.5% in 2017.
~Consumer inflation will fall to 4.6% in 2015, accelerate to 6.8% in 2016 and is then forecast to consolidate somewhat at 6.3% in 2017 and 5.9% in 2018.
~Capital formation is forecast to grow by only 1.1% of GDP in 2015, 0.3% in 2016, 1.4% in 2017 and 2.7% in 2018.
~Household comsumption is set to grow by 1.4% in 2015, 0.7% in 2016, 1.6% in 2017 and 2.2% in 2018.
~The balance of payments will stay in deficit (-4.1% of GDP in 2015, -4.0% in 2016, -3.9% in 2017 and 2018).
Social Grant Increases
~State old age grant from R1,415 to R1,505 per month.
~State old age grant for over 75s from R1,435 to R525.
~War veterans grant from R1,435 to R 1,525.
~Disability grant from R1,415 to R 1,505.
~Foster care grant from R860 to R890.
~Care dependency grant from R1,415 to R1,505.
~Child support grant from R330 to R350.