Langa Bodlani MPL
DA Limpopo Spokesperson on Treasury:
The low expenditure patterns of conditional grants by Limpopo’s provincial departments are very concerning. A document submitted to the portfolio committee on provincial treasury shows that as at 31 January 2015, only R5.3 billion out of R7.8 billion on conditional grants for all departments was spent. This effectively means a mere 68.1 % of the entire budget on conditional grants was spent.
To put this in context, close to R2 billion worth of rands will be not be spent by the time the 2014/15 financial year ends on 31 March 2015.
Treasury MEC Rudolph Phala, when he delivers the provincial budget speech on Tuesday, must explain to the people of Limpopo the concrete steps he is going to take to make sure that entire conditional grants are spent by departments.
Failure to spend these grants is an affront to our people who rely on government to provide them with services.
Notwithstanding that the department of education managed to spend 83% of its entire grant, it failed dismally to spend on the HIV/AIDS grant. It spent a meagre R2.3 million of the R31 million on this crucially important grant meant to reduce the scourge of HIV/AIDS. Similarly, on Dinaledi school grant aimed at improving our mathematics, only 3.7% of R11.3 million was spent.
Agriculture, one of the biggest contributors to our provincial GDP, managed to spend only R196 million of the R297 million budget. This comes in the face of the many struggling land reform projects in the province.
The worst performer, second only to Coghsta, is the department of Sports, Arts and Culture. This department is responsible for our community’s libraries and yet it was only able to utilise R36 million out of R95 million for Library Grants when our communities are still struggling to have properly libraries with resources.
The health department shifted R 42 million meant for HIV/AIDS grant to goods and services. This is totally unacceptable given the fact that our people who are on chronic medication are returned daily due to shortages of these medicines.
Coghsta is the worst performing department which recorded a failure to spend a staggering R559 million.
This failure to spend on conditional grants is a reflection of poor management by the ANC governed provincial administration.
Provincial Treasury is the custodian of our provincial coffers and MEC Phala on Tuesday must tell Limpopo citizens how he plans to reverse this under-expenditure trend in the province.