Committee Report on 2018 Appropriation Bill

Standing Committee on Appropriations

22 May 2018
Chairperson: Ms Y Phosa (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Standing Committee on Appropriations met for consideration of Committee Report on the 2018 Appropriation Bill. The Report flowed from the numerous engagements between the Committee and stakeholders as well as the public.

The Committee recommendations were highlighted as follows:

  • Treasury should ensure that budgeting and costing becomes an integral part of departmental planning and reporting for both the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) and annual performance plans (APPs) cycles.
  • Treasury should to consider various options for the funding of the Early Childhood Development (ECD) programme. Treasury ought to develop an ECD financing policy covering infrastructure, nutrition, teacher training and institutional capacity.
  • The Department of Public Service Administration should develop systems and mechanisms that will compel skills transfer in the appointment and use of consultants in the areas of financial reporting services, preparation of performance information, procurement of Information Technology services, and inclusive guidelines on appropriate outsourcing.
  • The Department of Basic Education should ensure that it improves its planning mechanisms and take into account spatial demographic patterns and forecasts before deciding to build or expand schools. This should be entrenched in the schools infrastructure programme.
  • The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs ought to strengthen the capacity of municipalities and traditional leaders so as to build durable partnerships between municipalities and traditional councils guided by principles of mutual respect and cooperative governance.
  • The Department of Social Development ought to develop an ECD infrastructure sector plan, indicating areas that require urgent intervention, to inform the allocations and investment in ECD infrastructure by the different government spheres and departments.
  • The Committee further recommended that the National Assembly adopt the 2018 Appropriation Bill, without amendments.

Members identified typographical and grammatical errors which had to be corrected by Committee Staff before finalisation. They emphasised the need for the full implementation of cost-containment measures within departments.

The Committee having considered the 2018 Appropriation Bill, referred to it in terms of Section 10(a) of the Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act, adopted the Report on the 2018 Appropriation Bill with amendments.

Meeting report

Committee Report on 2018 Appropriation Bill

The Chairperson welcomed everyone and indicated the draft Committee Report on the 2018 Appropriation Bill flowed from the numerous engagements between the Committee and stakeholders as well as the public. She took Members through the Report page by page and asked for their inputs.

Members identified typographical and grammatical errors which had to be corrected by Committee Staff.

The Committee recommendations were highlighted as follows:

  • The National Treasury to develop and implement cost containment measures including developing relevant cost-control instruction notes and embark on a targeted budget reprioritisation in service delivery areas.

Mr J Maswanganyi (ANC) felt recommending that Treasury develop cost-containment measures was not necessary as such measures were already in place. Rather, emphasis should be on the need to fully implement the measures as tabled by successive Ministers of Finance.

Mr A Mcloughlin (DA) agreed and added Treasury has had cost-containment measures in place since 2014. Therefore much emphasis should be on sharpening and strengthening the implementation of the measures already in place.

Mr A Shaik-Emam (NFP) lamented that Committee recommendations never seem to be heeded by departments. For instance, he had a problem with the outsourcing of travel arrangements for parliamentarians to travel agencies. Instead, a dedicated department within Parliament should be dealing with that, and thereby saving reducing costs substantially. He further outlined the following issues for the Committee’s consideration:

  • The health budget was underfunded and as a result provinces are not able to provide quality health care and pay service providers on time
  • National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) funding was not reaching students timeously and/or also being withheld by institutions
  • Monitoring/evaluation oversight structures in all spheres of government were ineffective

Mr Shaik-Emam further recommended that Treasury: address its own weaknesses in terms of supply chain management and local procurement; interrogate strategic plans versus output/implementation value for money; identify repeat offenders to ensure consequence management; pay certain service providers directly withhold allocation to provinces and municipalities which fail to pay service providers; ensure infrastructure projects are monitored and are in line with strategic plans to prevent delays and escalation in costs.

The Chairperson said the draft Report spoke to most of the issues identified by Mr Shaik-Emam. Some of his proposals could be merged with those of the Committee as they were useful. She outlined the draft Report recommendations as follows:

  • Treasury should ensure that budgeting and costing becomes an integral part of departmental planning and reporting for both the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) and annual performance plans (APPs) cycles.
  • Treasury should to consider various options for the funding of the Early Childhood Development (ECD) programme. Treasury ought to develop an ECD financing policy covering infrastructure, nutrition, teacher training and institutional capacity.
  • Treasury should consider enhancing and reforming budget frameworks to: improve guidelines and formats that allow the Department to effectively monitor and report on budget execution against reliable performance information; strengthen the alignment of budget and APPs to improve service delivery and enhance the costing of implementation plans
  • The Department of Public Service Administration should develop systems and mechanisms that will compel skills transfer in the appointment and use of consultants in the areas of financial reporting services, preparation of performance information, procurement of Information Technology services, and inclusive guidelines on appropriate outsourcing.
  • The Department of Basic Education should ensure that it improves its planning mechanisms and take into account spatial demographic patterns and forecasts before deciding to build or expand schools. This should be entrenched in the schools infrastructure programme.
  • The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs ought to strengthen the capacity of municipalities and traditional leaders so as to build durable partnerships between municipalities and traditional councils guided by principles of mutual respect and cooperative governance.
  • The Department of Social Development ought to develop an ECD infrastructure sector plan, indicating areas that require urgent intervention, to inform the allocations and investment in ECD infrastructure by the different government spheres and departments.
  • The Department of Higher Education and Training should significantly enhance the monitoring capacity over the bursary funding to ensure full adherence by students to conditions entailed in the bursary agreement which include meeting progression requirements of the institutions.
  • The Committee further recommended that the National Assembly adopt the 2018 Appropriation Bill, without amendments.

The Chairperson put the Report for adoption.

The Committee having considered the 2018 Appropriation Bill, referred to it in terms of Section 10(a) of the Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act, adopted the Report with amendments.

There were no objections. 

The Chairperson thanked everyone and indicated Committee staff and herself would finalise the Report for ATC.

The meeting was adjourned.

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