Welcoming remarks by the UNICEF South Africa Representative, Christine Muhigana at the Midterm Budget Policy Statement 2022: A Reflection

As prepared for delivery

16 November 2022

Esteemed panelists,

Our partners at today’s Dialogue: the Public Service Accountability Partners and the Mail and Guardian,

Members of various South African government delegations,

The National Treasury team,

Representatives of Parliament and the Financial and Fiscal Commission,

Members of the diplomatic corps and the international development community,

Representatives of civil society, media and academic institutions,

Our regional Social Policy colleagues,

It is once again a privilege for me to extend a warm welcome to everyone attending this 2022 Roundtable Discussion on the recently-released Medium Term Budget Policy Statement.

You will recall that we met virtually last year and this year I am pleased that we meet in-person, although we have a healthy complement of colleagues online as well. Welcome everyone.  

This is our third public offering since 2018, with UNICEF collaborating with different partners each year to examine the extent to which the budget policy framework in the MTBPS promotes the realization of socio-economic rights for both adults and children.

Our aim is to build on the previous sessions and provide a constructive multi-stakeholder platform to interrogate public resource management matters affecting service delivery in key social sectors.

Today’s discussion takes place at a time when UNICEF is about to lead the commemoration of World Children’s Day on 20 November, with the 2022 theme notably being “Inclusion for Every Child.”

Children’s rights and their realization are at the core of the strategic partnerships we have with the Government of South Africa. This is relevant in the context of today as the MTBPS is one of the critical public finance tools that can potentially promote the realization of these rights, particularly through child-friendly budgeting.

I reiterate the statement I made last year that the publication of the MTBPS stands as a testament to the country’s commitment to transparency and accountability in explaining government’s decisions on public finance and public policy.

This is demonstrated in the excellent record that South Africa continues to maintain, upholding its reputation as a global leader in the Open Budget Index Survey, which is compiled by the International Budget Partnership.

This further talks to continued efforts by the government towards a fully transparent budget system. We remain deeply appreciative of the National Treasury’s willingness to openly engage on these important budget policy issues and solutions-driven dialoguing.

Last year we co-hosted this event with the Social Policy Initiative, formerly referred to as the Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute, and this year we are honoured to co-host with the Public Service Accountability Monitor, whom we view as a key partner.

We view these strategic partnerships as being vital in our collective support of national efforts to accelerate the realization of socio-economic rights in South Africa, the bridging the deep-seated inequities and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

For us in the United Nations, sessions like these provide an invaluable opportunity to participate in a society-wide conversation about the realization of socio-economic rights and how budget policy could support this constitutional pathway. 

On that note, I wish you well in your deliberations.

Thank you

Delivered on Wednesday, 16 November 2022, Capital Menlyn Maine Hotel, Pretoria

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Tel: +27 82 561 3970
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UNICEF South Africa
Tel: +27 61 418 7486


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