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Highlights from Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s 2019 Budget Speech

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first_imgWednesday 20 February 2019 marked an important day for South Africans. Members of Parliament (MPs) gathered to listen to Minister of Finance, Tito Mboweni present the National Budget, while citizens were eager to learn the nation’s financial situation.Minister Mboweni confirmed that his Budget Speech aligns with President Cyril Ramaphosa’s vision for the country.  “In the 2019 State of the Nation Address, our President set out an ambitious agenda for our nation. It is an agenda that speaks to the South Africa that we can be. It is a task list for all ofIt lays out a series of interventions that will put South Africa on a bold new path,” the minister said in his address.He also confirmed that government is set to fork out R5,8tn over the next three years; R1,2tn will go towards education, R717bn to public health and approximately R900bn to social development over three years.National Treasury shares some key take outs from the 2019 Budget Speech:Gross debt is expected to stabilise at 60.2 per cent of GDP in 2023/24.Real growth in consolidated non-interest expenditure will average 2 per cent over the nextthree years.Tax revenue for 2018/19 will undershoot the mini-budget estimate by R15.4 billion, half of this due to higher than expected Vat refunds.There will be no change to personal income tax rates or brackets but slight adjustment to rebates (revenue of R12.8 billion to be raised this way; collection by stealth).Employment tax incentive of up to R1 000 can be claimed for employees earning up to R4 500 p/m (previously R4 000).Carbon tax of 9c per litre on petrol and 10c per litre on diesel effective 5 June.New Sars commissioner to be appointed soon.The South African National Roads Agency is allocated an additional R3.5 billion over the next 3 years to improve non-toll roads.R1.8 billion is allocated for the implementation of 262 priority land-reform projects over the next three years. R3.7 billion is set aside to assist emerging farmers seeking to acquire land to farm. The Land Bank will support smallholders, and leverage partnerships with other financial institutions. It aims to disburse R3 billion in the next fiscal yearOlder public servants may retire early and gracefully, leading to savings of R4.8 billion in 2019/20; R7.5 billion in 2020/21 and R8 billion in 2021/22Allocation to Jobs Fund to rise to R1.1 billion over three yearsOld age grant rises R80, foster care up R40 to R1 000, and child support grant to R420 in April and R430 in OctoberR481.6 million is allocated to the Small Enterprise Development Agency to expand the small business incubation programme.Additional Reporting: National Treasurylast_img read more

How To Get The Most Out Of Google+ Today

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first_imgRelated Posts Thanks to a neat element that came packaged with the design revamp effort rolled out at Google I/O, clicking one of up three displayed hashtags flips the card around within the same page and displays other stories from across the network. Cycling through brings you to other similarly hashtagged posts and finally gives you the option to jump into a fully organized trending page for whatever topic you’ve selected. That’s not all. Google+ posts, unlike Facebook and Twitter, are all editable. That means you can add hashtags later or replace the current batch with new ones. That’s especially useful considering Google automatically tags some posts, which is a great feature that occasionally doesn’t employ the most specific tag possible. But with edit, you can replace the autotags with your own. Animated GIFs That Blend Into The BackgroundWhile anything that aids in the display of animated GIFs is not typically a popular notion, Google+ turns out to be one of the few social havens for the Internet motion mainstay that doesn’t push it in front of your face. The feature was rolled out in March, but ever since the debut of Google’s new photo management and GIF creator tool, called Auto Awesome, that automatically creates the nifty picture loops out of similar photos you batch upload, the social network has become awash in moving pictures. The feature works not only for posts, but profile pictures and even the enormous 2120×1192 pixel cover photo as well (tread carefully there).What makes them so innocuous, compared with the incessantly in-your-face profile GIF that Twitter was forced to put a stop to, is a combination of Google+’s column layout and the fact that user’s profiles won’t animate the GIFs unless you click on their name. Your feed remains mostly undisrupted and when people do happen to post them and they play automatically, it’s easy to let your eyes wander horizontally or vertically to other posts. Check out an example of a cover photo GIF here, and be sure to remember that less is always more in this case. After all, some of the coolest GIFs are the ones that hardly move at all. A Reddit-Like Community Hub, Only With Better Design And Less MemesReddit can be a meme-saturated and inside-joke-filled rabbit hole, and Facebook has long outgrown the ability to keep intelligent discussion at the forefront of its public pages and groups. That doesn’t leave too many options for those nostalgic about the era of dedicated message boards and forum communities. Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verification A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Audit Luckily, Google+ has such a feature, called Communities, that acts as a mix between those discussion modes of the earlier Web and Facebook Groups/Pages, but with subreddit-style organization that’s a little more professional than the social news site.For instance, the top Android community was started and remains moderated by the popular blog Android Central. It’s a public community with over 165,000 members and no posted rules, so anyone can join and jump into a number of discussion topics or simply post to the main page. But Google+ also has invite-only groups with stricter organization, such as the HTML5 community. Besides being exclusive, the community has its own self-described manifesto naturally available as a public Google Doc that mandates how to stay in good graces with the moderators. A more lenient page that still has some casual rules is Gaming, which asks that users write in English and avoid littering the page with links in succession. Simply put, there’s a topic for most Web junkies in Google+ Communities, though it does seem to lean towards the more Google-related areas like Android and Chrome in terms of frequency and prominence. Smaller Can In Fact Be BetterA lot of the criticism aimed at Google+ isn’t at what it can’t do or doesn’t do well. Rather, the most-often heard complaint tends to be, “Nobody’s on it!” While it may be true that the social network’s numbers may be far lower than Facebook’s and not likely to catch up anytime soon, it’s important to realize that this has positive effects as well: the people who do use Google+ are only the ones that really want to. It means the users are highly engaged, using the network to its fullest potential and interacting at a high frequency in quality ways that foster more depth. That’s what users can expect when they go there, and Google+’s more powerful features—discovery hashtags that funnel into well-kept communities and pages accented by unique animations—can make the growing social network still feel like a welcoming niche environment.  The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videoscenter_img Tags:#Google#social networking nick statt Since its makeover in May, Google+ has been steadily winning a war of aesthetics over Facebook, which has yet to roll out its redesigned News Feed to all users.While a visual overhaul is a great way to draw in users who have long neglected the mandatory social component of the Gmail address, Google+ has yet to succeed at making some of its new, highly powerful features more noticeable.To the average user who may only casually use Google+, it’s a better looking yet more empty social hub when compared with its competitors. When taking into account the ways in which Google+ is in fact a richer, more discussion-based and interactive experience, the social network begins to look like a far better place to spend one’s time online.See also Google+ Turns Two: Why I’m Becoming A ConvertLuckily, these somewhat lesser-known features are not at all hidden, but do take a bit of explaining. Here’s three of the best Google+ has to offer today. Hashtags: Google+’s Discussion Discovery FeatureFacebook made a splash last month with the debut of its own hashtags offering, mostly because it was yet-another move aimed at beefing up its discovery offering with features that have worked wonders for other services.  But while hashtags are synonymous with Twitter and the trending war between it and Facebook, Google+ has in fact had the hashtag feature since last year. The important question is: Is there any more utility with Google+ hashtags than you get on other platforms? It turns out that yes, there is, for a number of reasons. Most importantly, what makes Google+’s hashtag option not only easier and more elegant to use, but more functionally powerful as well, is the fact that clicking a hashtag does not take you away from the page and away from what made you click in the first place, as it does with both Facebook and Twitter. Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro…last_img read more

‘GST revenue at an all-time low’

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first_imgThe revenue from the Goods and Services Tax has slipped by over ₹2,500 crore — to a 19-month low in September — and is showing no signs of recovery due to a massive tax fraud and overall “flaws in the system”, indicated West Bengal Finance and Industry Minister Amit Mitra in a letter to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. Mr. Mitra wrote the letter on Monday.The GST revenue slipped from ₹94,442 crore in September 2018 to ₹91,916 crore in September, 2019 — a drop of ₹2,526 crore. Highlighting the drop, Mr. Mitra argued that this “probably is the first time that monthly collections have been at an all-time low”. This collection, Mr. Mitra noted, is “even lower than the collection for July 2017, which was ₹92,283 crore”.“Though it has picked up slightly in October with ₹95,380 crore, it is still 5.29% below the collection of October 2018 which was ₹1,00,710 crore,” Mr. Mitra said. He underscored that despite his repeated warnings about “GST fraud and the flaws in the system… no discussion was held on this issue in the last GST Council meeting”. In his two-page letter, Mr. Mitra pointed at the problem of fake input tax credit that manufacturers and in turn dealers are entitled to for paying input taxes. He indicated that a network of fake ITC was snowballing in the country and yet “we continue to work in silos”.“A few days ago, Odisha SGST authorities detected a fraud worth ₹138 crore”, while in September searches carried out “in 336 locations across 15 States detected fake ITC worth ₹740 crore”. One person in Mumbai with credit of ₹93 crore and another person in a case worth ₹127 crore were arrested since September, Mr. Mitra noted. “Each and every State and the Central GST authorities are continually detecting fake invoices and absentee registered tax payers,” he wrote.No task force Since fake ITC means a loss of tax as it is “not backed by transaction in goods or services in reality”, such leakages are contributing to the “falling revenue trend,” Mr. Mitra noted. He regretted that “no task force [was] set up” to deal with the fraud as suggested by him earlier.last_img read more