Expenditure on economic development will increase at an average annual rate of 8.5% over the next few years, from R201-billion in 2021/22 to R256-billion in 2024/25, the National Treasury revealed in its Budget 2022 document published on February 23.
This function in government’s capital allocation promotes faster and sustained inclusive economic growth to address unemployment, poverty and inequality, it said.
Of government’s consolidated spending expectation of R6.62-trillion over the medium term from 2022/23 to 2024/25, economic development will comprise 13%, or R721-billion.
Spending on road infrastructure, the largest programme in the economic development function, is expected to grow from R50.4-billion in 2021/22 to R72.7-billion in 2024/25 at an average annual growth rate of 13%.
The medium-term economic framework (MTEF) allocation to the South African National Roads Agency Limited will help to maintain 22 000 km of roads countrywide, while provinces plan to reseal 11 217 km of roads through the Provincial Roads Maintenance Grant.
To fund new bulk water projects and maintain existing raw water infrastructure, spending on national water resource management will grow from R27.5-billion in 2021/22 to R47.4-billion in 2024/25.
Planned expenditure includes Phase 2 of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project and the Mokolo‐Crocodile River water augmentation project.
The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa has been allocated an additional R300-million in 2022/23 to strengthen regulatory capabilities.
National government in 2021 focused on launching the steel, furniture and global business services master plans, respectively.
This while the 2022 State of the Nation Address noted significant industry contributions in the sugar and poultry industries to increase investment, improve productivity and accelerate transformation.
PROGRAMMES FOR GROWTH
Over the medium term, the Department of Small Business Development will promote youth entrepreneurship by supporting at least 15 000 youth‐owned enterprises. It will also reintroduce the Youth Challenge Fund at an estimated cost of R91.3-million, harnessing creative solutions to address youth unemployment.
National Treasury believes that access to finance, particularly for the early stages of business development, is crucial to sustain small businesses.
To this end, the department will continue rolling out the Township and Rural Entrepreneurship Fund, implemented through the Small Enterprise Finance Agency, at an estimated cost of R2.9-billion.
Government has allocated R1.3-billion to the Agricultural Production, Biosecurity and Resources Management Programme in the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development for inspection, quarantine and biosecurity.
Among other things, this allocation will be used to strengthen the biosecurity, sanitary and phytosanitary standards required by international markets.
To ensure sustainable development and social justice, R14.6-billion is allocated for land reform and restitution, and R6.8-billion is allocated for blended finance programmes, farmer development and post‐settlement support initiatives.
The Department of Science and Innovation is allocated R28-billion over the MTEF period. Priorities include implementing the 2021 to 2031 plan on science, technology and innovation – which is expected to support mining, manufacturing and agricultural innovation – and supporting the National Research Foundation.
The Department of Tourism will continue to focus on supporting recovery in the tourism sector while accelerating the move towards a stronger, more equitable and resilient tourism economy.
Accordingly, R360-million is allocated over the medium term to support the pilot phase of the Tourism Equity Fund introduced in 2021, R240-million is allocated to enhance tourism assets and infrastructure, and R80-million has been reprioritised to support short‐term jobs in tourism.
The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment has reprioritised R244-million over the MTEF period to improve institutional capacity and modernise meteorological services at the South African Weather Service.
A total of R17.8-billion is allocated over the next three years to support business investment in new equipment and infrastructure through incentive programmes – such as the automotive investment scheme, the global business services incentive, the film and television production incentive, special economic zones, the clothing and textile competitiveness programme and the industrial park revitalisation programme.