'Tighten your belts and spend less'

KWAZULU-NATAL finance MEC Ina Cronjé has called on all departments in the province to tighten their belts and spend less.

KWAZULU-NATAL finance MEC Ina Cronjé has called on all departments in the province to tighten their belts and spend less.

"We must all refrain from wasteful and extravagant expenditure," Cronjé said yesterday.

"We must do more with the limited resources and be accountable for all expenditure we incur.

"Allowing debt to accumulate rapidly is the surest way of putting critical service delivery programmes to our people in jeopardy."

At the unveiling of her 2009-10 budget of R625million, Cronjé cautioned against overexpenditure, saying the province's finances were burdened by heavy service delivery demands.

"The service delivery demands on the coffers of the province exceed the available funds for 2009-10 and the actual cash shortfall places a further burden on the limited resources," she said.

"This could have a negative service delivery impact if we carry on with an attitude of business as usual."

She said while systems were in place to monitor spending on a daily basis, what was needed most wasa "monumental collective effort to restore the health of our provincial balance sheet".

Cronjé said both in the treasury and her own office moves were in place to implement savings and promote cost containment in key areas, including subsistence and travelling by officials, advertisement costs, office catering and public events.

"In my office we no longer provide lunch for managers who attend meetings over lunch time," Cronjé said.

"We break for lunch and everyone makes his or her own arrangements as they would have done had there been no meeting."

She said the treasury was also hamstrung by the high vacancy rate in senior positions.

"Five of the 13 top managerial posts in the treasury are at present vacant, placing additional strain on the treasury's ability to provide assistance and to effectively monitor performance.

"The treasury has sourced-in some assistance but needs to fill these posts urgently."

Cronjé committed the provincial treasury as a place where the highest standards of financial and fiscal management are achieved for the province and its 10million people.

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