Committee Report on Statistics South Africa 2012 budget

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Finance Standing Committee

08 May 2012
Chairperson: Mr T Mufamadi (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee considered the Draft Report of the Standing Committee on Finance on Budget Vote 13 (Stats SA) for the 2012/13 financial year and after corrections and additions adopted it.

The Committee also adopted agreements on tax matters between South Africa and the governments of the Commonwealth of Dominica, Gibraltar, the Republic of Liberia and the Sultanate of Oman. Finally, the Committee discussed a member’s proposal that the Minister of Finance be invited to fully brief the Committee on the
South African National Roads Agency Limited issue, specifically on its finances. It was agreed that Treasury brief the Committee fully once the Cabinet process on the Agency had been completed.

Meeting report

Committee Report on Statistics South Africa 2012 budget
The Committee considered its draft report on Statistics South Africa’s (Stats SA) for the 2012/13 financial year.

Ms Z Dlamini – Dubazana (ANC) suggested that the word “status” in 2.2 be replaced with the term “strategic objectives”.

Mr T Harris (DA) recalled that he had questioned the large budget increases requested. This should be reflected in the report under the second bullet of point three, deliberations.

Mr D Van Rooyen (ANC) moved that bullet four of point four in Stats SA’s responses be expanded to include the specific matter raised by the Committee.

Recommendations
Mr D Ross (DA) asked that a recommendation be included to involve labour when calculating the quarterly labour force survey.

Mr Harris recommended that Stats SA had not included enough information on how the Interdepartmental Business Registration Reform Project was to be implemented and that the Committee be sent regular updates.

Mr Van Rooyen added that municipalities be highlighted as a special case because there was a lack of credible statistics around municipalities and that Stats SA improve its links with the South African Local Government Association (Salga).

The Chairperson said that collaboration should be enhanced between government departments and with the South African Revenue Services (SARS) especially in connection with the Budgetary Review and Recommendation Reports (BRRR).

Mr Harris noted that the Stats SA had asked for budget increases above 12% and increasing to 25% the following year. The Committee had requested written justification for these increases

Tax Agreements
The Committee adopted the agreements on tax matters, it had previously discussed on 13 March 2012 between the government of South Africa and the governments of the Commonwealth of Dominica, Gibraltar, the Republic of Liberia, the Sultanate of Oman.

Member’s request
The Chairperson said that following the previous day’s deliberations in which Treasury had not been given sufficient time to respond to matters raised, Mr Harris had asked proposed that the Committee consider asking the Minister to give a detailed briefing on the
South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL) to the Committee.

Dr Z Luyenge (ANC) agreed with the proposal adding that it should take place after the Cabinet process had been completed.

Mr Harris added that the matter was not to question details of the transport arrangements but purely on SANRAL’s finances.

The Chairperson said it was not only a Treasury issue but an interdepartmental one and that he did not want to receive piecemeal information

Mr Ross said that it would be in the national interest if the Minister responded on the SANRAL issue.

The Chairperson added that the Committee would be informed in writing by the Department as agreed in the previous day’s meeting and that nothing precluded Members from raising the matter in Parliament. Treasury could brief the Committee fully at the appropriate time.

The meeting was adjourned.

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