Eskom's exemption from National Treasury receives wide-range criticism

By Tshegofatso Makola

Following the release of the government gazette that saw the exemption of embattled power utility, Eskom from declaring all wasteful expenditure, many have since come out to criticise the Minister of Finance, Enoch Godongwana as well as his department.

The Finance Minister issued the gazette on the last day of last month, which will now see Eskom not having to declare its wasteful expenditure for the current financial year and the next two after that.

The decision has since received immense criticism with many fearing that this may lead to corruption.

Despite this, National Treasury has expressed that although Eskom would be exempt from declaring sch expenditure within its financial statements, the utility would still have to do so in its annual report.

“The exemption granted to Eskom will enable it to continue to fund its balance sheet and still maintain accountability, transparency and reporting requirements in its annual reports and annual financial statements. If the exemptions were not considered, it would place pressure on the fiscus and limit borrowing powers of the SOE,” -National Treasury

As a result, the embattled utility will see itself no longer having such expenditure checked via a full aduit by the Auditor General, of which the power utility has since expressed, will benefit it on the long run.

According to Eskom, the reduction of its chances of a full audit being run will see the likelihood of the utility being downgraded by rating agencies decline.

Meanwhile, political parties and organisations as well as industry experts and the public have expressed mass concern over the decision by Treasury.

Among these include the Black Business Council, who have since called for a meeting with the Minister of Finance as well as the Deputy President of South Africa, Paul Mashatile. This, for what they have described as to address the exemption, which they have since expressed makes a mockery out of the country.

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