MEC sounds alarm bells over Free State’s declining population

2011-03-10 13:04

The Free State’s population was declining and that would have a negative effect on the money the province received from the national government, Free State finance MEC Seiso Mohai said today.

Mohai said although the structure of the provincial equitable share formula remained unchanged for now, a number of reforms would be introduced from 2011.

The MEC was presenting his budget speech in the Free State legislature of R73.7 billion for 2011.

Mohai said the formula for equitable share was largely population driven.

The impact of this in the formula and other data updates had resulted in the decline of the Free State’s weighted equitable share.

“The major contributors to the decrease in the weighted share of the province were the declining numbers in learners and the decreasing population numbers,” said Mohai.
The province’s gross domestic product was also not increasing as fast as it was in the case with other provinces.

Nevertheless, the Free State’s equitable share for 2011 had grown by 8% for the 2010 and 2011 budget, and stood at R16.5 billion.

Mohai said efforts would be made to look at the “perpetual” decline in the province’s share allocation.

This would include working with the provincial department of education to ensure all pupils in the province were accounted for and a closer working relation with the regional office of Statistics South Africa to understand the reasons for the decreasing population.

The Free State government would also look at focused research with the universities to better understand the population realities in the Free State.

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