Tag: 2016

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s first comeback National Budget, tabled on 24 February in Parliament, was relatively calm and workmanlike one after all the expectations of tax hikes and spending cuts amid tough economic times.

He stressed the need to reaffirm government’s commitment to close the gap between spending and revenue, implementing a plan for stronger economic growth and cooperation between government and the business sector. That should keep the rating agencies that want to downgrade SA’s debt position to junk status temporarily at bay.

Personal income tax rates were not increased as was expected and as Nhlanhla Nene did last year, although about R18-billion more will be collected in 2016/17. This will mostly be through yet another big increase of 30 cents per litre in the fuel levy as well as increases in capital gains tax, property transfer tax and an increase of about 7% in the usual sin taxes (alcohol and tobacco) A new tyre levy and a tax on sugar intake (only next year on sweetened beverages) will also be introduced.

The expenditure ceiling was also cut by R25-billion over the next three years to bring the budget deficit down to 2,4% of gross domestic product by 2018/19, and to stabilise debt as percentage of GDP around 45% of GDP.

The public sector wage bill will be cut, but provision for contingencies like drought relief and additional spending has been made and increases in expenditure on for example on higher education and small business development continue. Gordhan stressed that the government would not burden South Africans with “austerity measures”, and that social grants will also be raised.

The highlights of the budget are:

Budget framework

  • The budget deficit will fall from 3,2% in 2016/17 to 2,4% in 2018/19 (3,9% in 2015/16).
  • Debt stock as a percentage of GDP is expected to stabilise at 46,2% in 2017/18 (43,7% in 2017/18).
  • Government will lower the expenditure ceiling by R10-billion in 2017/18 and R15-billion in 2018/19 by reducing public sector compensation budgets.
  • An additional R18,1-billion of tax revenue will be raised in 2016/17, with R15-billion more in each of the subsequent two years.
  • Government has responded to new spending needs without compromising expenditure limits. An amount of R31,8-billion has been reprioritised over the medium-term expenditure framework period to support higher education, the New Development Bank and other priorities.

Spending programmes over the next three years

  • R457,5-billion on social grants.
  • R93,1-billion on transfers to universities, while the National Student Financial Aid Scheme receives R41,2bn.
  • R707,4-billion on basic education, including R45,9-billion for subsidies to schools, R38,3-billion for infrastructure, and R14,9-billion for learner and teacher support materials.
  • R108,3-billion for public housing.
  • R102-billion on water resources and bulk infrastructure.
  • R171,3-billion on transfers of the local government equitable share to support the expansion of access of poor households to free basic services.
  • R30,3-billion to strengthen and improve the national non-toll road network.
  • R13,5-billion to Metrorail and Shosholoza Meyl to subsidise passenger trips and long-distance passengers.
  • R10,2-billion for manufacturing development incentives.
  • R4,5-billion for national health insurance pilot districts.

Tax proposals

  • An amount of R9,5-billion will be raised through increases in excise duties, the general fuel levy and environmental taxes.
  • Limited fiscal drag relief of R5,5-billion will be implemented for individuals, focusing on lower- and middle-income earners.
  • Adjustments to capital gains tax and transfer duty will raise R2-billion. The effective rate on capital gains tax for individuals will rise from 13,7% to 16,4%, and for companies from 18,6% to 22,4%. Transfer duty on property sales above R10m will be raised from 11% tot 13% from March1 2016 .
  • Government proposes to introduce a sugar tax on 1 April 2017 to help reduce excessive sugar intake.
  • A tyre levy will be implemented, effective October 1 2016.
  • The general fuel levy will be raised by 30c/litre to R2,85/l for petrol and R2,70/l for diesel, effective April 6 2016. The Road Accident Fund levy will stay the same on 154c/l as it will be replaced by the Road Accident Benefit Scheme.
  • Tax credits on medical scheme contributions are increased to maintain the current level of relief in real terms.
  • The plastic bag levy is increased from 6c to 8c per bag.
  • Personal income tax will bring in 37,5% of government revenue, company tax 16,9%, VAT 25,6% and fuel levies 5,5%.

Sin taxes hikes

Beer 11c/340ml; fortified wine 27c/750ml; ciders and alcoholic fruit beverages 11c/340ml; unfortified wine 18c/750ml; sparkling wine 59c/750ml; spirits 394c/750ml; cigarettes 82c/packet of 20; cigarette tobacco 94c/50g; pipe tobacco 27c/25g; cigars 432c/23g.

Macro-economic outlook

  • GDP growth is estimated 1,3% in 2015, 0,9%% in 2016, 1,7% in 2017 and 2,4% in 2018. This is considerably lower than last year’s estimates.
  • Export growth is expected to grow by 9,5% in 2015, 3.0% in 2016 and 4,6% in 2017 while imports will grow an estimated 5,3% in 2015, 3,7% in 2017 and 4,5% in 2017.
  • Consumer inflation will fall to 4,6% in 2015, accelerate to 6,8% in 2016 and is then forecast to consolidate somewhat at 6,3% in 2017 and 5,9% in 2018.
  • Capital formation is forecast to grow by only 1,1% of GDP in 2015, 0,3% in 2016, 1,4% in 2017 and 2,7% in 2018.
  • Household comsumption is set to grow by 1,4% in 2015, 0,7% in 2016, 1,6% in 2017 and 2,2% in 2018.
  • The balance of payments wil stay in deficit (-4,1% of GDP in 2015, -4.0% in 2016, -3,9% in 2017 and 2018).

Social grant increases

  • State old age grant from R1 415 to R1 505 per month.
  • State old age grant for over 75s from R1 435 to R525.
  • War veterans grant from R1 435 to R 1 525.
  • Disability grant from R1 415 to R 1 505.
  • Foster care grant from R860 to R890.
  • Care dependency grant from R1 415 to R1 505.
  • Child support grant from R330 to R350.

For office managers trying to accommodate the needs and preferences of millennials, keeping up with trends can be a daunting task. Open plan is in, then it’s out. Dedicated workspaces make way for flexi-workspaces just in time for the pendulum to swing the other way.

And so employees and employers hustle and jostle to embrace the modern office, knowing the only constant is that it’s always changing. But there are some key trends that are here to stay in future-focused offices. Leading business solutions provider, Nashua, rounds up the most important office trends for 2016.

Hot desking
The concept of the dedicated desk has disappeared, replaced by a hive of hot desking. This workspace seating trend encourages movement and diminishes desktop clutter, as well as bringing bosses and team managers out of glass-windowed offices and into the general working area, amongst their teams.

Hot desking has also grown out of the need to avoid a completely sedentary work day – ‘sitting is the new smoking’ is a phrase that’s growing popularity. It’s also based on the belief that a large portion of desk space remains unused during the day as employees come and go, so having half the number of desks as employees is an economical move.

Community tables
Teamwork and integration continue to dominate office spaces. Cubicle segregation is now officially considered ‘retro’ and communal tables (often oval-shaped or round) are favourable places to set up shop.

This kind of community-minded workspace needs easily movable tech, which highlights the importance of cloud-based services and wireless hardware.

Wire hiding
Tangles of wires aren’t just an eyesore, they’re a potential safety hazard and they inhibit the user’s ability to move as and when they need. In 2016, businesses will focus on minimising spider webs of wires around the office, both with nifty wire-hiding devices and through the introduction of wireless tech – most importantly phones, printers and scanners.

Setting up managed print services (MPS) allows any organisation to begin the process of reducing the number of cords in the office and establishing a wireless workspace.

Living lounges
With the rise of the mobile workspace comes the need for secluded spots employees can use to escape the bustle of the open office. Pods, nooks and breakaway rooms have become key – preferably decked out with comfortable couches and reclining work chairs. Armed with a laptop or tablet, employees can work in seclusion and hopefully, boost productivity. This is especially important for creative workspaces.

To embrace office dynamism and have employees constantly on the move, businesses need to centralise their information management, so employees can access anything they need, from anywhere in the office – hammock, armchair or stability ball – at any time of day. Managed Document Solutions (MDS) is a simple way for organisations to facilitate this change.

Office spaces are generally becoming spaces of alliance, not separation – integrated and collaborative thinking is of utmost importance. This is mirrored in the movement towards more co-operative and seamless processes, giving employees the freedom to access the information they need at the touch of a button. It’s all about dynamic flow – and some seriously cool-looking offices as a result.

Paperworld, the annual stationery and office products show in Frankfurt, Germany, kicked off on Saturday 30 January to a mixed reaction from vendors and attendees.

Certainly this year, with Hall 3.1 closed and the Paperworld Plaza concept not taking place, there is a much stronger emphasis on the creative, hobby, craft and social stationery sectors where, to be fair, the halls seem vibrant and busy.

Office supplies are pretty much grouped into just one hall (3.0), in addition to suppliers from the Far East that are located in another area of the exhibition centre and the RemanExpo show for compatible and aftermarket ink and toner products.

Traffic in 3.0 was generally fairly quiet on the first two days of the show, although – as usual – some vendors were happier than others with the number of appointments and visitors to their stands that they had. More international buyers are expected on Monday and Tuesday, however.

Interestingly, some important OP resellers have either reduced the number of purchasing people they are sending to Paperworld or not present at all, which will be a concern to organiser Messe Frankfurt.

A strategic meeting between Messe Frankfurt officials and members of the Paperworld working group took place this morning, and they will no doubt be looking at next year’s Plaza programme and what can be done to boost the show in the intervening, non-Plaza years.

By Andy Braithwaite for OPI.net

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My Office News Ⓒ 2017 - Designed by A Collective


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