Budgeted again

FamCast News
2 months ago


By Kabelo Mollo

Somebody on Twitter (X) asked, “Why is life so expensive, when it’s our turn to be grown ups?” and having just paid a pretty penny for next to nothing at the grocery store. I desperately wish to echo this question.

How on earth has life got so expensive? I was chatting with my car’s mechanic (another astronomical expense) recently about the lack of cash in circulation in ntate Sam Matekane’s economy. He opined that even the 4+1 drivers were driving like mad men because of it.

He posited that the town ought to be a hive of activity now that it was beyond the 20th of the month and some sectors had been paid. He insists it is abnormal that there is such little activity. I added that a good economic indicator for casual, laymen economists such as ourselves was nightlife.

My assertion is around the number of social butterflies flitting around the different spots. As it is, there are fewer and fewer spots offering night life, perhaps itself an indication…

Fortunately, the budget has now been read by Dr Matlanyane. Once again, we in the lumpen proletariat have got our hopes up, with the idea that the bourgeoisie will once again have much excess and that will in turn lead to some trickle down. We have seen very little largesse of late, even from the 1%. The austerity this government spoke of when it came in seems to have most affected those at the bottom of the food chain.

The minister’s budget speech should have been encouraging to those involved in farming and agribusiness. They were the biggest winners from the speech. Food security is important for a landlocked country like ours and it’s about time we became self reliant again. We need to produce our own food, and be so efficient that we ultimately end up exporting produce to our neighbours.

Tourism once again scored with promise of both infrastructure development and support in the softer scientific areas. The proposed facility in Morifi (the highest lowest point in the world) should make for increased domestic tourism to that part of the world. A sound long term investment from my point of view.

I have people in my circle who were amused by the minister’s insistence that ours is an economy transitioning to digital. The livestream broadcast literally cutting periodically as she spoke. The irony was not lost on those watching. She made reference to the 16 radio stations currently broadcasting digitally but didn’t mention the one broadcasting only digitally. I suppose that would only have been to stroke my ego, but I suppose it’s worth noticing that so many stations had woken up to the need to go digital. ICT and digital will also be offered a healthy chunk of change and those of us in the sector will be watching gleefully to see what comes.

Our government faced the biggest cyber security hack I’ve heard of late last year when the central bank fell victim to a hostage type hack. That hack and the subsequent inability for many of our banks to transact added to the subdued atmosphere over the festive period. The frugality displayed over the festive was akin to that of the dark times of ’08 and the hang over of the sub prime crisis. On this occasion even the usual “goduka” crowd stayed put in the capital city. Many shouted blue murder as they endured rather than enjoyed a city bound Christmas. Indeed, the late Queen Elizabeth’s words rang true and they rang loud. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”

We hope for far more and far better in this financial year. Crossed fingers.