Report of Standing Committee on Finance on 2010 Revised Fiscal Framework: adoption

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Finance Standing Committee

29 March 2011
Chairperson: Mr T Mufamadi (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

Report of Standing Committee on Finance on 2010 Revised Fiscal Framework
The Committee agreed with the response received; two issues were raised by members as work in progress, and that the Committee would engage with the respective Ministers of Trade and Industry and National Treasury.

It was agreed that the Standing Committee on Finance having studied the response to the Committee’s recommendations on the Report of the Standing Committee on Finance on the 2010 Revised Fiscal Framework by the Minister of Finance, which was adopted by National Assembly on 2 November 2010, was approved by the Committee.
The report was adopted.

The Committee approved outstanding minutes from meetings held on 23 March 2011 with amendments.

Meeting report

The Chairperson announced that there had been a suggestion to continue with the appropriation in preparation for the meeting with Treasury in the morning, so if the meeting finished early the Committee could join the Appropriations Committee, to continue with the work which it was doing. He needed to speak to the Chair of the Appropriations Committee to see how the work could best be coordinated. Statistics South Africa had presented the previous week and had a lot of important work to do, and were in Cape Town again. While each Committee was independent, yet Committees were all interdependent and particular Departments had to come to Cape Town for a week moving from one Committee to the other. In the next term the programmes and agenda items should be looked at to try and have joint sittings, which made the work of the Committees and the work of those Departments more efficient. Parliament should not make Departments inefficient because it was unable to coordinate its work.

Related to that, the Chairperson had met with the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to invite the Land Bank again, but had indicated to the Deputy Minister that National Treasury should communicate with the Committee insofar as they were responsible of reporting to Parliament in terms of strategic plans and annual reports and so forth to the Standing Committee on Finance. If any other Committee were interested they should indicate to this Committee so that it could advise them, otherwise the following week the Department would come back to another Committee.  Sometimes the issues that were raised could be responded to in one meeting, rather than two separate meetings. He would take that up with the various chairpersons in an effort to improve and coordinate the work.

It was very difficult to get Members to attend meetings in the last week of a parliamentary term, particularly when there was no plenary, and it was especially difficult with the coming elections. Committees were not able to adopt programmes due to lack of quorum. Thursdays were also difficult because political parties had caucuses on Thursdays, and if there was no sitting in the afternoon then normally constituency work was a priority. That also had to be discussed.

Report of Standing Committee on Finance on 2010 Revised Fiscal Framework
The document was the response from National Treasury to issues raised in the Committee’s report.

Ms N Sibhidla (ANC) commented on recommendation 4.4 ‘that National Treasury should resolve issues pertaining to the SACU’s revenue-sharing formula as a matter of urgency’; the Committee had been raising that issue with Treasury since 2009 but had never received a concrete response on the matter. Ms Sibhidla suggested calling both ministries, especially on the current proposal they were putting on the table, and also as to what the impact of the impasse was on those programmes.

Mr D van Rooyen (ANC) also referred to recommendation 4.4, and supported calling both ministries; bringing them on board would afford the opportunity to define the role of the Committee.

The issue 4,2 ‘that National Treasury should provide the Committee with a detailed report on how government would rebuild the fiscal space’, which was prepared by National Treasury, was important for the Committee to ensure that that process was expedited, because developments within that field took place on a daily basis and if the Committee was not on top of the situation it could find itself wanting. The issue of time frames was important for the Committee to know the content of the discussion document.

The Chairperson noted that the Committee agreed with the response received; two issues were raised by Hon Sibhidla and Hon van Rooyen as work in progress, and that the Committee would engage with the respective Ministers of Trade and Industry and National Treasury.

It was agreed that the Standing Committee on Finance having studied the response to the Committee’s recommendations on the Report of the Standing Committee on Finance on the 2010 Revised Fiscal Framework by the Minister of Finance, submitted in terms of the Money Bills Amendment Procedures and Related Matters Act No. 9 of 2009, which was adopted by National Assembly on 2 November 2010, was approved by the Committee.

Moved by Ms Z Dlamini-Dubazana, seconded by Mr N Koornhof, the report was adopted.

Adoption of Minutes
Minutes of Committee meeting held on 23 March 2011: Briefing by Statistics South Africa.
Ms Sibhidla raised the issue that the Committee’s concerns about undercounting were not mentioned.

Another issue that was not responded to was, in a previous engagement last year, a Member from the ACDP requested Statistics SA to develop communication material for Members of Parliament to take to their constituencies. She suggested writing to request a response.

The Chairperson noted that there was also no response to the question as to what assistance Members of Parliament could provide to ensure that the census ran smoothly; to be followed up.

Mr van Rooyen said after the pilot census was conducted it came out clearly that the earmarked target would not be achieved because of the inability to access some of the houses.

The minutes were adopted with amendments.

Minutes of Committee meeting held on 23 March 2011: Briefing by National Treasury
Minutes of Committee meeting held on 23 March 2011: Briefing by National Treasury, were adopted with technical amendments.

In conclusion, the Chairperson reminded Members of the workshop scheduled for the following day, which was very important because it was part of the implementation of the Money Bill. The workshop was based on a study tour undertaken by various Committee Members, together with members of the NCOP, to different countries in relation to the establishment of the budget office. Members must make themselves available; the workshop was not optional.

The meeting was adjourned.

 

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