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Appropriations Bill Passed, Channels Funds To Covid-19 Fight, Service Delivery

The COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the country’s finances featured prominently in Friday’s debate on the Appropriations Bill and budget.

The bill allows government to spend money on service delivery and, as required, has been passed by Parliament.

It was agreed to during the National Assembly’s third session under lockdown on Friday – with 230 votes for and 120 against – as the EFF, FF Plus and UDM didn’t agree with the bill and budget.

The Appropriations Bill will allow for the withdrawal of money from the country’s revenue fund to address service delivery as well as the country’s fight against COVID-19.

It was one of the money bills tabled by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni in his Budget in February.

Appropriations Committee chairperson Sfiso Buthelezi says COVID-19 has made matters even worse.

“The economic recession presents a very precarious fiscal framework. There’s no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has made a bad situation worse. We are very cognisant of that very challenging economic reality.”

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni said the country would have to refocus its attention in the face of COVID-19.

“Refocus on our attention on those strategic issues that we can do. Refocus our attention on the growth-enhancing activities. No longer take for granted that the baseline that was there last year will always be the case going forward.”

Mboweni said he would expand on the country’s finances when he delivered his supplementary budget later this month.