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Cut spending, ministers urged

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Government is urged to curb non-core spending to save up to R25-million.
David Maynier, shadow minister of finance, points out that the Minister of Finance, Nhlanhla Nene, is desperately trying to cut spending on “non-core goods and services” including consultants, travel and catering, which cost R25-billion in 2013/14.
“The cost containment measures were originally introduced by former Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, and were outlined in National Treasury Instruction 01 of 2013/2014,” Maynier says.
“However, a reply to a parliamentary question reveals that belt-tightening measures, imposed by the National Treasury, are being resisted.”
Maynier says National Treasury has been faced with numerous requests for deviations from cost containment measures, including requests from the Presidency, the Department of Defence and the Department of State Security.
While National Treasury has, to its credit, resisted some requests for deviations, Maynier believes that, overall, it is losing the war on waste.
“National Treasury barely made a dent in cutting spending on ‘non-core goods and services’, saving only R2-billion, or 8% of the total amount spent on consultants, travel and catering, in 2014/15 compared to 2013/14,” he says.
“What is worse is that savings, as a result of cutting spending consultants, travel and catering, are often rolled into other categories of wasteful expenditure, such as new ministerial vehicles.
“The adjusted budget reveals, for example, that R1,25-million, saved inter alia on travel and subsistence, in the Department of Health, was rolled over to purchase new ministerial vehicles for Dr Aaron Motsoaledi.
“I have requested the Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Finance, Yunus Carrim, to schedule a meeting on the cost containment measures being implemented by the National Treasury,” Maynier says. “In the end, we have to identify and deal with the big spending ministers who are resisting cost containment measures being implemented by the National Treasury.”