Ramaphosa: Not yet time for austerity measures

Government is considering a number of ways to manage debt, but it is not yet time to introduce austerity measures, said President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa was answering questions in Parliament on Tuesday. He responded to a question from Economic Freedom Fighters MP Floyd Shivambu about steps being taken to manage debt, which is projected to peak at 60% of GDP by 2023/24.

"We will embark on priority expenditure solutions which we will look at when we craft the next budget. We cannot continue seeing our debt growing at an alarming rate, we will come up with solutions," Ramaphosa said.

The president said that generating economic growth will also help address the challenge.

"The best way out is to spend prudently and grow the economy," he said. Government has been curbing reckless expenditure, corruption and malfeasance, he added.

Last week Treasury officials briefed the standing committees on finance and appropriations on the country's mid-term budget.

Acting deputy director-general for Treasury's budget office Ian Stuart said that difficult choices will have to be made, going forward.

"We believe we are at a crossroads which represents many difficult choices we will have to take. One of those choices is how we manage state-owned companies and the other difficult choice is how to manage the growth of the [public] wage bill in the medium term," he told the committee.

The National Assembly will consider the finance committee's report on the revised fiscal framework and revenue proposals on Wednesday.

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