kzn out to save money

KWAZULU-NATAL has unveiled measures to deal with the province'sR3billion deficit incurred because of over-expenditure over almost two years.

KWAZULU-NATAL has unveiled measures to deal with the province'sR3billion deficit incurred because of over-expenditure over almost two years.

Announcing the province's budget for the 2009/10 financial year totalling about R60,5billion yesterday, MEC for finance Ina Cronjé said departments must reduce their expenditures by about 7,5 percent to help in financing the two-year cumulative deficit as a result of the 2007/08 and 2008/09 provincial over-expenditure.

"The province is now budgeting for a surplus over the next three years. To realise these savings, departments have been requested to exercise fiscal prudence and eliminate unnecessary expenditure.

"The province has identified very specific expenditure items where savings can be realised, such as communication and advertisements, venue hire and travel, substance and travel, freezing of non-critical posts and reducing the use of quotations in procuring goods and services and utilising competitive tendering process," Cronjé said.

She said the provincial government would have no mercy on overspending or, on the other hand, under spending on critical delivery programmes.

"The emphasis will be on the importance of spending within the allocated budget and working closely with municipalities and departments.

"This will ensure that the people we serve obtain maximum benefit from the government services provided," Cronjé said.

"We appeal to all departments and municipalities to refrain from wasteful expenditure and to exercise prudence in financial management."

However, Croné emphasised that the government would not reduce spending during these trying times.

She said the province would increase infrastructure spending from R9,7billion in 2008/09 to R10,9billion in 2009/10 and to R12,7billion in the 2011/12 financial year.

The largest portion of this expenditure would be in the department of transport, which would investR3,5billion in 2009/10 financial year, rising to about R3,9billion in 2011/12 for road construction and maintenance, the MEC said.

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