What government spends our money on

Approximately 9% – R101 billion – of total national government expenditure for the 2013/14 financial year was on interest on state debt.

For every R100 spent by national government, R9,30 was used to pay interest on debt, according to the latest financial statistics of national government report, released by Stats SA.

Using financial data from 41 government departments, the report measures national government spending, broken down by function (e.g. health, education, defence) and by economic classification (e.g. salaries and wages).

The report noted that interest payments on state debt increased by 14.8% over the last financial year, from R88 billion in 2012-13 to R101 billion in 2013/14.

Over a five year period, interest payments on debt increased by R44 billion.

The largest contributor to total cash receipts from operating activities for the 2013/2014  fiscal year was taxes – R900 billion.

Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene has since announced the tax numbers for the 2014/2015 financial year, in April, reaching R986.4 billion.

In May, government agreed to a 7% wage increase for approximately 1.3 million public servants – including nurses, teachers and police officers – bringing the country’s wage bill paid from government coffers to as much as R470 billion.

What functions did national government spend money on?

Total national government expenditure increased by 8.1%, from R1 009 billion in 2012-13 to R1 091 billion in 2013-14.

Contributors to government spending in 2013/14 were:

  • General public services – R577 billion or 52.9%
  • Social protection – R121 billion or 11.1%
  • Public order and safety – R105 billion or 9.6%
  • Pconomic affairs – R95 billion or 8.7%
  • Housing and community amenities – R58 billion or 5.3%
  • Education – R52 billion or 4.8%
  • Defence – R40 billion or 3.7%
  • Health – R34 billion or 3.2%
  • Recreation, culture and religion – R5 billion or 0.4%
  • Environmental protection – R3 billion or 0.3%

The  largest  contributor to total cash payments for operating activities for the 2013-2014 fiscal year was grants (R636 billion),  followed by social benefits (R115.4 billion),  compensation of employees (R115 billion), and  interest (R101 billion).

Over a five year period, total national government expenditure increased by 47% between 2009/10 and 2013/14, with education recording the largest percentage increase (143%), followed by housing and community amenities (75%) and health (64%).

The lowest increases in government spending were recorded in defence (26%) and social protection (34%), StatsSA said.

Economic classification of cash payments for purchases of non – financial assets for the 2013-2014 fiscal year showed a total of R14 billion, including R1.1 billion on computer equipment, R464 million on ‘dwellings’ and R118 million on furniture.

Dwellings are the buildings used entirely or primarily as residences, including garages and other associated structures. They include hostels, nursing homes and homes for the military.

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What government spends our money on