Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said with weaker economic conditions expected for the rest of 2016, government departments will be asked to spend from their existing budgets over the next three years and prioritise resources to fund social programmes.
The Minister said this when he tabled the medium-term budget policy statement recently.
The medium-term budget takes into consideration the state of the economy, and proposes ways to guide the country on a better growth path.
“There are many other programmes and policies which are vital for our growth.
“With careful attention to sustainability and inclusivity, they will contribute to employment and the broadening of economic opportunities,” he said.
The Minister added that government is revising regulations that will see small businesses get a share of all of the contracts awarded by government. This will reserve work for designated groups.
“A Public Procurement Bill is being finalised. It will strengthen accountability and oversight in supply chain management, while providing flexibility and promoting
empowerment, small enterprise development and job creation.
“The Preferential Procurement Regulations are being revised to ensure that at least 30 percent of government procurement goes to designated groups, including small and medium enterprises, cooperatives and rural and township enterprises,” he said.
In terms of job creation, the Minister said that government aims to create six million short- to medium-term jobs through the Expanded Public Works Programme, increase statutory workplace inspections by the Department of Labour, and promote industrial development and trade.
Government expects to roll out the Community Work Programme in every municipality by March 2017, he added.
Over the next three years, the Jobs Fund is expected to spend R3.7 billion on projects that create permanent jobs.
While spending on the fund has been slow, it has created permanent employment at a cost of R52 000 per job, which compares favourably with other government programmes.