CAPE TOWN: While there are early signs of a recovery in the local economy, with expected business conditions improving, government now needs to show – through its Budget later this month – that it has the credibility to take the country forward and build business and consumer confidence. Schoeman quipped that this was the first Budget that was almost “unforecastable”, and that economists were unsure about the steps that government would take to boost fiscal growth and narrow the current account deficit.
Schoeman further pointed out that it was still unclear as to what government’s plans were around the proposed introduction of free higher education. “Just trying to get a sense of that is, in itself, a nightmare going into this Budget.” We’ve got to jump over the Budget hurdle, which is linked to Moody’s determine the currency and whether the cyclical upturn [is sustainable],” she said, adding that February would be a watershed moment for the country, as it would demonstrate if there was political will to consolidate the Budget. She added that the only thing that was holding back the start of an upward movement in economic growth, was the lack of confidence.