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Wednesday, 24 January 2024 14:51

Godongwana to table 2024 budget on the 21st of February.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

Finance minister Enoch Godongwana will table 2024/2025 budget in parliament on Wednesday February 21, the National Treasury confirmed.

In a statetement Treasury said, "The National Budget announces government's spending, tax and borrowing plans for the next three years."

Godongwana has extended an invitation to the public at large to give inputs and suggestions on how to balance the books.

He is seeking input on various budget items that impact South Africans' lives, including matters related to tax revenue, flailing state-owned companies, and crumbling municipal finances.

Godongwana has already conceded that the 2024 budget will be a challenging one, as the country faces a massive budget deficit that needs to be addressed – but there are no easy answers.

The two main avenues of addressing the financial shortfall – budget cuts or increased taxes – bring with them major risks, and neither are palpable or politically convenient in what is shaping up to be a critical election year for the country.

Increased tax revenue is already on the table, with the mid-term budget in October 2023 pointing to an additional R15 billion in taxes to be strapped onto the budget in 2024.

Analysts have noted that this could be raked in by simply not adjusting the tax brackets for inflation – but the possibility of higher taxes or new taxes has not been written off.

Godongwana himself said that tax hikes are still a possibility, though he admitted the challenge of implementing them in the current economic environment – making them unlikely.

Further budget cuts, meanwhile, have not been received well by departments and government entities affected.

Economists, meanwhile, have warned that pushing up taxes or targeting specific groups (like with a wealth tax or higher corporate tax) raises the risk of increased tax evasion and capital flight – individuals and companies will simply leave.

The closing date for submissions is 11 February 2024 and contributions can be sent through the National Treasury's website.