This is what TLU wants to see in the budget

Henry

Commercial farmers are of inestimable value to South Africa and this value must therefore also be reflected in the government’s budget for the coming financial year, according to TLU SA.

To support and promote the agricultural community, the agricultural organization proposes, among other things, that tax benefits, money for emergencies and important infrastructure, more resources for the police and the like be taken into account when the government prepares its budget.

As part of its plea, TLU SA wrote to the Minister of Finance, Enoch Godongwana, to bring matters that are “vital to sustainable food supply” to his attention.

Bennie van Zyl, general manager of TLU SA, says this letter emphasizes the fact that food on the table is the most important stabilizing factor in South Africa.

“Given that approximately 68% of the country’s inhabitants live in cities, the government cannot help but realize that commercial farmers are indeed South Africa’s greatest asset and must therefore be nurtured.

“The sad issue is that aid is constantly handed down, under the guise of agricultural aid, to those who produce approximately 3% of the country’s food. The commercial sector, which includes farmers of all genders and races, receives almost no help in times of need,” Van Zyl said on Monday.

In his letter, TLU SA highlighted the following matters that the government should consider when drawing up its budget:

  • A proposal that commercial farmers can save profits tax-free in good years in order to remain in production in times of losses.
  • Roads, railways, communication systems and power supply need urgent attention, as South Africa’s infrastructure has deteriorated to such an extent that production and distribution processes are adversely affected. TLU SA says it is becoming increasingly difficult to get products to markets and ports.
  • The police must be empowered with the necessary equipment and training to do their job properly and must be purged of corrupt members in order to regain people’s trust, as there is great concern about safety especially in rural areas and on farms.
  • Farmers are exposed to disasters such as floods, droughts, fires and livestock disease outbreaks and therefore better provision must be made to give help to farmers quickly and efficiently in such times.
  • If diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease or bird flu break out, the necessary empowerment must be in place so that the state can fulfill its duties effectively.
  • Effective quality education is of key importance and therefore education standards must improve by leaps and bounds.

Van Zyl also says that elements that bring about economic growth in the country must always be the priority when the budget is drawn up.

“South Africa is experiencing extremely poor economic growth. Less and less foreign investments are made in our country. The elements that will bring about economic growth should be the minister’s core focus, and the most important aspect that the budget must tackle is incentive measures that will encourage growth,” said Van Zyl.

“Corruption in all its forms must be eradicated without respect to the person before a budget, which is supposed to be used for the benefit of the country’s people, will be of any value. All the time, effort and expertise used to compile a thorough budget will be of zero and no value if the taxpayer’s money continues to disappear into the pockets of corrupt officials.”