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FINANCE SELECT COMMITTEE
1 November 2002
FINANCE BILL; GAS REGULATOR LEVIES BILL: FINALISATION
Gas Regulator Levies Bill [B47-2002]
Finance Bill [B48-2002]
The Committee adopted the Finance Bill and Gas Regulator Levies Bill.
The Committee Secretary informed Members that Ms Q Mahlangu, the Committee Chair, is unable to attend this meeting due to personal matters she has to attend to in Johannesburg.
Ms S Ntlabati (ANC) [Free State] was elected as acting chairperson.
Mr Shahid Khan, National Treasury Parliamentary Liaison Officer, informed Members that the Finance Bill will before the House on Tuesday 5 November, and this Committee could thus sit on Monday to finalise that Bill.
Mr Khan informed Members that this Bill contains purely mechanical provisions proposed by the Treasury following recommendations from SCOPA [Standing Committee on Public Accounts], which was in turn requested to do so by the National Assembly. The Auditor-General (AG) presented statements to SCOPA on departmental expenditure and in those instances in which he found unauthorised expenditure, he applied his mind to the matter and called that department to account. Once this process had been concluded he then decided to declare that unauthorised expenditure as authorised expenditure. Thus the Bill merely enacts what the National Assembly has requested SCOPA to do.
This schedule refers to those departments which did not abide by the funding regulations, and the unauthorised expenditure has now been declared as authorised expenditure.
This provision lists instances in which specific departments have exceeded their budget vote allocation. SCOPA examined this matter and recommended that the expenditure be declared authorised expenditure, so that they do not become wasted expenses.
This schedule deals with those departments that have exceeded their budget vote allocations but have failed to pay the funds into the National Reserve Fund. This expenditure has also now been declared to be authorised expenditure.
Thus in a nutshell the Bill seeks to enact, via the National Treasury, what the National Assembly has requested SCOPA to do.
Mr Ralane proposed that the Bill be adopted.
Ms Ntlabati noted that Members agreed to the Bill, and read the Committee Report.
Gas Regulator Levies Bill
Mr A Surridge, Director: Coal and Gas in the Department of Minerals and Energy, informed Members that the Gas Act was assented to by the President on 12 April 2002. The Bill now makes provision for funding from a separate regulator.
This clause merely contains certain definitions that had to be clarified.
This provision empowers the gas regulator to impose a levy for administrative and other costs, and also provides the procedure to be followed here.
This clause ensures that the gas regulator is held accountable to both the Ministers of Minerals and Energy and Finance in handling the funds generated by the levies.
This provision imposes penalties on those who fail to pay the prescribed levy.
This clause states that the gas levy will lapse after a period of five years, and also grants the Minister of Minerals and Energy to either approve or disapprove of the levy imposed, and reasons have to be given for this decision.
This provision states that the Minister of Minerals and Energy may assess the performance of the gas regulator, and this has to be done in consultation with the Minister of Finance.
Mr Z Kolweni (ANC ) [North West] proposed that Members adopt the Bill.
The Chair noted that Members agreed to the Bill, and read the Committee Report.
There were no further questions or comments and the meeting was adjourned.