SA depending on its 'CEO', Tito Mboweni, says Mazars

Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni has the critical responsibility of bringing stability to National Treasury after the position he now occupies changed hands five times in the past decade, according to tax experts at global audit, accounting and consulting group Mazars.

Mazars held a panel discussion in Cape Town on Tuesday morning ahead of Mboweni’s first Budget speech on February 20.

Senior Tax Partner at Mazars, Bernard Sacks, said Mboweni was effectively "the CEO of South Africa" and a long stint as finance minister would help stabilise Treasury strategically.

"We have had significant instability in that position for years. There was a long period of instability from 2008 to 2014," said Sacks.

Sacks said that, as Mboweni was only appointed as finance minister two weeks before the mini budget in October last year, he had insufficient time to bring any meaningful policy input to that document. 

"I am hopeful that Mboweni will steady the ship. He had a good stint at the Reserve Bank and impressed the international community there. I believe he can introduce measures to stimulate growth because there is limited opportunity to increase taxes," Sacks said.

Sacks said even though Mboweni himself said that South Africa should not be "recycling leadership" in government, it would be prudent of him to use his time in Treasury to groom someone else to take the helm.

"He viewed his position as a short term stop gap. A three-year period would be sufficient for him to steady the ship, cement his policy, get South Africa on the path to growth and during that time groom the next minister of finance for one of, if not the most important position in Cabinet," he said.

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