Finance minister Pravin Gordhan delivered his first national budget speech yesterday; the reviews were mixed with "balanced" and "predictable" reigning supreme.
However, Joe and Jane Soap want to know how the budget will affect them directly. Anton Gildenhuys, chief executive of Sanlam Personal Finance gave the following top 4 implications for consumers:
1. Inflation and interest rates
The Reserve Bank mandate remains largely unchanged, and as another interest rate cut is unlikely, consumers will have to watch their spending and not find any additional or unnecessary debt.
2. Tax reductions
While the National Treasury has slightly decreased the tax burden caused by "bracket creep" - when inflation pushes income into higher tax brackets - consumers need to take heed of the warning that taxes may increase beyond bracket creep next year. Gildenhuys advises that consumers need to think long-term by paying as much as possible on cars and homeloans this year and stick to responsible budgeting.
Energy consumption is turning into the new sin tax, as it has been proposed that petrol tax should increase by 25.5 cents per litre, as well as a carbon emissions tax on new cars - this makes a good argument for buying a second hand car.
The most notable sin tax increase must be cigarettes which will increase by R1.24 per packet, followed by wine at 12 cents a bottle and 6.5 cents a beer.
4. National Health Insurance
"While the timeline for the introduction of National Health Insurance is given as five years, it may happen later." says Gildenhuys. This means that for now, consumers will have to continue to provide for their medical needs via private medical aids. Gildenhuys also ads that it will be "prudent to plan future medical expenditure based on the current healthcare dispensation."