* Too much attention on infrastructure development, urbanisation, tourism
* Much more can be done for rural economy, poor
A network of citizen groups has sent in its proposals for the 2013 budget to the President, asking the government to give more weight to developing a macroeconomic and political strategy which would uplift the rural economy, marginalised communities and urban poor, instead of pursuing a course favouring infrastructure development, urbanisation, tourism and financialisation.
Organised in to the Active Citizenship for Development Network (ACDN) their recommendations cover four sectors of particular concern to their larger communities; agriculture, fisheries, estates, and state education.
“Over the past year there have been mobilizations of farmers, fisher-people, plantation workers; and university students and academics around issues of concern to them. These actions and protests should be viewed as a form of engagement with the state in defence of their interests – particularly in a context where the opportunities for peoples’ participation in budget-making at local, provincial and national-level are so limited,” the ACDN said in a statement.
“Will the 2013 Budget respond to these engagements by shifting from the neoliberal economic trajectory favouring infrastructure development, urbanisation, tourism and financialisation; towards a macro-economic and political strategy that supports the rural economy, and marginalised communities including the urban poor?”
“These modest and reasonable proposals can be resourced if there is political will to downsize the defence sector that is projected to increase by 26 percent in 2013; curb external loans and therefore rising debt-service payments that amount to US$1billion; and strengthen, instead of undermining, provincial and local government including through revenue-raising; exercise of powers over land-use and law and order; and building on the 13th Amendment,” the ACDN said.