Adjustments Appropriation Bill; Municipal Finance Management Bill; Committee Report on Medium Term Budget Policy Statement: adop

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Finance Standing Committee

20 November 2003
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Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report

21 November 2003

Ms B Hogan (ANC)

Relevant documents
Treasury Presentation on NCOP Amendments to Municipal Finance Management Bill
NCOP Amendments to Municipal Finance Management Bill
Local Government: Municipal Finance Management Bill {B1B-2002]
Committee Report on Medium Term Budget Policy Statement
Adjustments Appropriation Bill [B69-2003]

The National Treasury briefing on the Adjustments Appropriation Bill detailed the funds that were not spent by government departments in the previous financial year, the upward adjustments of personnel salaries in the public sector across the board, the self-financing expenditure of government departments received from donors, the projected saving and under-spending by government departments and the unforeseeable and unavoidable expenditure by government departments.

During the discussion, concerns were raised about the huge allocation made to the Department of Communications, especially as it was the only government department that failed to address Parliament's Joint Budget Committee during its hearings on the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS). Clarity was sought as to whether the Department of Communications was statutorily mandated to fund the operational losses of the South African Post Office, the costs involved in the closure of the Boputhatswana Broadcasting Corporation, the relationship between parastatals and government departments and the implications of government picking up their losses and National Treasury was asked if legislation was underway to deal with the Post Bank.

The National Treasury presentation on the NCOP amendments to the Municipal Finance Management Bill outlined the role of the Provincial Treasuries and Provincial and Local Government Departments, the role of other parties, the amendments effected to "municipal entities" and technical amendments. During the discussion, the distinction was noted between the Provincial Treasury's role in monitoring the financial performance of a municipality and the monitoring of its non-financial matters by the MEC for Provincial and Local Government. National Treasury indicated that the "prescribed framework" in Clause 5 would spell out the details of the role played between these two provincial departments and would ensure compatibility and consultation between them. Also discussed was whether Clause 117 precluded deliberations on the municipal tender by the municipal council itself.

Before adopting the Committee Report on the MTBPS, the Committee expressed its dissatisfaction with the lack of creative interaction with the MTBPS allowed by the current Parliamentary Budget process, as the Committee was unable to properly exercise its oversight function over the Budget.

Adjustments Appropriation Bill - briefing by Treasury

Mr Jaz Chaponda, Treasury Chief Director: Expenditure Planning, stated that the briefing would provide Members with an overview of the process and the format of the Bill itself, and would outline some of the highlights in the Bill.

The Bill was really the instrument through which the Executive sought Parliament's approval and adoption of its revised spending plans for the 2003/2004 financial year. This recognized the fact that while significant planning was involved in preparing the budget, there were certain unforeseeable and unavoidable events. Departments were thus afforded this opportunity to revise their spending plans. Two month ago government departments had submitted their Treasury Committee Memoranda to the National Treasury for an assessment and recommendations by the Treasury Committee. The Treasury Committee met on 7 October 2003, reviewed the recommendations and subsequently made its own recommendations which would be forwarded to Cabinet for approval.

There were five main components to the Bill. The first was funds that were not spent from the previous financial year and for which the departments had been granted the necessary approval to spend these funds during the present financial year.

The second dealt with salary Adjustments which arose from the fact that when the main appropriation was presented, certain assumptions were made about what would need to budget for salaries across the public service, subsequently there negotiations and the outcome of these negotiations were 0.5%, compared to what was originally budgeted for. This was the process of the upward adjustment of salaries across the board.

The third component was the self-financing expenditure of several Departments who got either donations or funds from donors, which they then applied towards different spending items. In some instances those departments recruited money from litigation they were involved in, and would then apply those funds towards expenditure items.

The fourth component was projective savings and underspending. He stated that here projective savings were significant due to the strengthening of the Rand while, on the one hand, the private sector was unhappy about state of the Rand. On the other there were some significant benefits for the fiscus that arose from those Departments who spent significant amounts in foreign investments.. He stated that Table 1(v) indicated the projected savings and under-spending as well as the declared savings from departments such as Foreign Affairs. The amount of R114m indicated referred to the reduction in the Rand amount for those foreign expenses. There were huge savings on the Defense Budget Vote arising from the strengthening of the currency, as well as from the rescheduling of some of that department's commitments.

He stated that the last category to be discussed was the unforeseeable and unavoidable expenditure. The Public Finance Management Act and the National Treasury Regulation 6.6 allowed departments to request additional funding through the Treasury Committee advice set beforehand, in order to supplement the main appropriation if the request related to an unforeseeable and unavoidable spending item. There were however certain categories of requests that were not considered as been unforeseeable and unavoidable. These included expenditures that, although they were known when the estimates of the expenditure were finalised, they could not be accommodated within the allocation.

Mr Thys Theron, Treasury Director: Expenditure Planning, referred to figures on the Department of Water Affairs contained in the Bill. These were divided into various programs that have received additional money, and were subdivided into transfers and specific institutions. Further categories included the conditional grant to Local Government and the earmarked funds. The latter referred to specific amounts that were earmarked by National Treasury and required approval should the Department want to utilize that money for other purposes, or if additional money was provided for that specific purpose.

The next column in the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry figures reflected the total additional amount of money that that department received in the adjustments estimate. The following two column explained the additions for the current expenditure, and the capital expenditure additions for current appropriations respectively..

The total appropriation was R2,6b, which was divided into the following two categories: current capital that amounted to R3,9b and the reduction of capital expenditure that amounted to R1,3b.

Mr Chaponda outlined some of the unforeseeable and unavoidable items in Table 4 of the Bill. The total amount excluding the provincial figure amounted to R2,79b, and R2,5b of this amount was accounted for by eight different government departments. These were the Departments of Communications, Defense, Treasury, Water Affairs , Public Works, Home Affairs, Foreign Affairs and Social Development.

The Chair read a letter sent to her by the Chairperson of Parliament's Joint Budget Committee which raised concern with the allocation requested by the Department of Communications, and it requested that this Committee extract an explanation from Mr Chaponda on the reasons for that large allocation.

Mr. Chaponda answered it was unfortunate that the Department in question did not appear before the Committee. This request had been made seven years ago, resulting from unauthorized expenditure by the South African Post Office. Deposited funds from the Post Bank were used to fund Post Office operational losses.

The Chair asked whether it was not a statutory mandate to fund the operational losses from the South African Post Office.

Mr. Chaponda replied that he would prefer to research the issue because of its long history . For past three years, Treasury and the Department of Communications were shareholders in the Post Office and had to assure the public and the Minister of Finance that this kind of expenditure would not occur again. This was not the first that the matter came before the Treasury. The Minister of Finance had categorically stated that the Treasury could not deal with this issue until there were adequate assurances that the issue would not recur. A business plan must be produced to show that the Post Office is now on a sound financial footing. The operations of the Post Bank could be jeopardized. Measures for corporate governance and the accountability arrangements must be concluded between these two institutions. In the February 2003 Budget Speech, the Minister of Finance did not indicate whether Government would be in a position to deal with the issue. The R750 million adjustment was therefore not unforeseen or unavoidable because because Treasury had been aware of this issue. Unforeseeable and unavoidable expenditure is then listed separate from recapitalisation as an amount announced in the 2003 Budget Speech.

Dr G Woods (IFP) asked about legislation which obligates Government to guarantee
the R750 million or any other future amounts.

Mr. Chaponda responded by saying that there is a provision whereby the Minister of Finance announced in the Budget Speech with regard to infrastructure spending. The following year, contiguous reserve was used to address this.

The Chairperson commented that the Post Office presented an almost separate Budget and it was questionable as to whether the Post Office can send a separate appropriate Bill to Parliament. It was unfortunate that the Department of Communications did not make itself available to the Joint Budget Committee because it is a recurring problem. She asked Mr. Chaponda if he could establish how the Government could accept the liability for Post Offices losses.

Dr Woods added to the Chairperson's concerns and asked whether, considering the Post Office's financial independence, the financial discrepancies would reflect badly on Government as a whole.

Mr Chaponda answered that the South African Post Office deposits were essentially under government guarantee. The was now sufficient clarity and appropriate mechanism have been put in place through an agreement reached between the Department of Communications, the National Treasury and the South African Post Office. In fact the South African Post Office may longer have access to the depositor's funds in the Post Bank, and this separation was thus ensured.

The Chair asked whether that separation was a statutory requirement, or whether it was just an understanding reached between the parties concerned.

Mr Chaponda responded that it was based on an agreements that was concluded, and that he did not understand it to be a legislative agreement.

The Chair requested Mr Chaponda to clarify the costs associated with the closure of the Bophuthatswana Broadcasting Corporation. The media reported that government would be picking up the cost of R150m, whereas government indicated that the cost amounted to only R40m.

Mr Chaponda replied that his view was that the Department submitted a request to National Treasury for an additional R30m, which it would use to wind down the operations of Bop TV. This allocation was approved. There was clearly some sort of dispute regarding the actual amount here, but the Department of Communication believed that the loss was incurred by SABC because the applied for a license to run Bop TV, and that liability was thus not attributable to government. He stated that the figure of R150m has not to date been presented to the National Treasury Committee.

The Chair stated that this could become problematic if the Department of Communications did not raise this matter with National Treasury. She asked whether the SABC was expected to carry the costs of R150m in its next budgetary year, seeing that this amount was not included in the Adjustments Estimate.

Mr Chaponda responded that the amount of R40m had not been included in the budget processas it was only the amount that was presented formally to the National Treasury, It was thus correct to contend that the SABC would thus have to deal with that amount, unless the processes currently underway identified a different finding.

The Chair suggested that the Committee include a request in its Report to the Joint Budget Committee that the relationship between the parastatals be explained, and the implications of government having to pick up the losses incurred by the parastatals. The very reason for commercializing the parastatals was precisely for government to avoid incurring these losses

Mr M Tarr (ANC) stated that parastatals, just like all other bodies and institutions, and the current practice simply allowed them a way out. The result was that government simply assumed responsibility and this was totally unacceptable. The South African Post Office's statement that it could not reimburse the funds and to expect the R750m simply to be deposited was in fact outrageous. He stated that he did not believe the Adjustment Appropriation Bill could be passed.

The Chair stated that the Chairperson of the Joint Budget Committee had indicated in his correspondence to her that the Department of Communication was the only Department that did not appear before his Committee during its hearings on the MTBPS. There might however be good reasons why the Department of Communications was unable to attend, but it was very disturbing as they presented no explanation for the funds requested.

Mr Chaponda said that there were specific instances in which a public entity did not budget adequately for its funds, and it had to come back to National Treasury and request that amount. In the 2002 Adjustment Appropriation Bill the Department of Minerals and Energy faced a similar legal requirement, and - referring to the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) - he said that they too had no way of escaping this legal requirement.

He stated that the Committee's concerns around the Post Office recapitalisation was noted, and National Treasury would provide a written response.

Mr Theron stated that it was not really a legislative requirement to fund the shortfall, but was basically done in support of a government drive to encourage the culture of savings and also to protect the savings of the depositors.

The Chair added that the broader problem was that, since 1994, the Post Office has regularly reported substantial losses. It was for this reason that the Department of Communication must report to Parliament and explain this matter. It was important to note that it was the only Department that did not report to Parliament.

Mr Chaponda responded that the agreement that has been put into place, that he alluded to earlier, and it put in place corporatization and a stringent relation between the Post Bank and the Post Office. It was thus primarily due to this corporatization that the Post Office was no longer able to access to the deposited funds .

The Chair commented that legislation was apparently underway related to the Post Bank.

Mr Chaponda stated that the "Unforeseeable and Unavoidable expenditure of R500 million relates to the program command to control" referred to peace support interventions conducted by the Department of Defence within the sub-region. The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has been asked to intervene in the following three countries in particular: the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and Guinea. Government has essentially made a commitment to intervene in those regions, and the operations involved a number of phases. The Department of Defense had budgeted for Phase 1 and Phase 2, particularly in the case of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Government maintained its presence in these areas of conflict in the region given its commitment but, unfortunately the amounts originally budgeted for were not adequate to cover these operations. The initial amount presented to the Treasury Committee was considerably larger, but it was decided that a figure of R500m would be adequate to meet government's obligations. Mr Chaponda stated that the broader issue revolved around the sustainability of these operations, because, through the African Union and NEPAD, it became clear that these commitments in the region commitment were growing and were likely to continue to grow.

National Treasury thus faced a huge challenge because it would have to put in place sustainable arrangements, and it began to do this by attempting to limit the adjustment that were made. This issue was certainly brought to the attention of the Minister's Committee on the Budget, and was discussed with the Minister's counterparts to arrive at an arrangements that would contain the costs in the region. Mr Chaponda stated that since this was really the beginning of that process, it was deemed necessary to allocate quite a large adjustments to these three countries.

The Chair read the Committee Report on the Bill, and noted that Members agreed unanimously. She included the Committee's concern with the absence of the Department of Communication.

Municipal Finance Management Bill
Mr TV Pillay, Treasury, informed Members that the presentation (document attached) would provide a brief overview of the four main changes that were effected to the Bill by the NCOP: firstly, the role of the Provincial Treasuries and Provincial and Local Government Departments, secondly the role of other parties, thirdly the amendments effected to "municipal entities" and fourthly the various technical amendments effected to certain definitions, section headings and the legal wording of certain provisions. He stated that the Bill was unanimously supported by the NCOP.

The Consolidated ATC (document attached) tracked these amendments, and clearly illustrated the significantly strengthened role of provinces thereafter.

The Chair requested Members to raise questions on the general principles contained in the amendments proposed by the NCOP, before a detailed evaluation on a clause-by-clause basis was engaged. She suggested that the principles that underlied the amendments was to specify the role of Provincial Treasuries, which was that they would now have to play a role in monitoring the financial performance of municipalities and would take the lead role in the mandatory interventions. The MEC's for Local Government would then monitor the performance of municipalities that were not finance-related. She asked whether this was distinction that was being made.

Mr Pillay agreed but stated that Treasury also foresaw a joint role performed by both those departments, because that information must be shared regularly between the two departments to give effect to the principle of co-operative governance.

The Chair expressed concern with the reference to "joint roles", because the areas of jurisdiction would become blurred and the departments would pass the buck. She asked Mr Pillay to explain the joint roles.

Mr Pillay responded that there has been clear separation in many areas. The joint role focused on the sharing of information as the municipality would provide information to the one department, and that department would then share the information with the rest of the role players.

The Chair stated that this was not really a joint role then, but referred to information-sharing.

Mr Pillay agreed and stated that the other area involved here dealt with when the interventions would be made, and consensus would have to be reached on this. Even though this process was headed by the provincial legislatures, the aim was to have the forging of service delivery and other aspects at that point. This would be the key.

The other area which was not explicit in the joint role would be the municipal visits that would have to be taken when those departments engage with municipalities. Mr Pillay stated that there would thus be holistic engagement with municipalities.

The Chair stated that it would not be possible to include a provision in the Bill that would require such visits to be conducted.

Mr Pillay agreed.

Ms R Joemat (ANC) agreed with the Chair that it could not be a joint role because it would not be clear which department would have to bear the responsibility. It was not certain whether the Provincial Treasury would then be accountable to the National Treasury, and it was also not certain who would have the authority to call the departments to account when there irregularities in over-spending, non-delivery etc. This clear-cut line of responsibility must be clarified.

Mr Tarr contended that the key statement here was "within the prescribed framework". Clarity was needed as to what exactly constituted that framework, as that would clarify the current confusion.

The Chair suggested that the Bill now be considered in a clause-by-clause basis to evaluate the extent to which there was actually a confusion of roles. She requested Mr Pillay to indicate what exactly the "prescribed framework" was likely to include.

Clauses 1 and 3
Mr Pillay took Members through the amendments proposed to definitions contained in the Consolidated ATC, and stated that these were straightforward.

Clause 5
The Chair stated the amendments to this clause lay at the heart of the issue regarding the role of the provincial departments.

Mr Pillay informed Members that the "prescribed framework" in this clause would provide all the "meat" to the framework referred to here, as practice developed. It was important to remember that the roles were much more broadly stated in this clause but the first line responsibility still remained with National Treasury, and that then devolved through the prescribed framework in much more detail if and when practice developed. It was thus a forward-looking clause.

The Chair asked whether the prescribed framework would in certain circumstances allow the transfer of functions to National Treasury that were usually carried by Provincial Treasuries.

Mr Pillay answered in the affirmative, and stated that this was the provision that was originally with National Treasury. It would allow such a transfer, given the capacity, which was the focal issue and had to be addressed appropriately in a phased manner. The framework would have to give effect to the gearing of the implementation processes.

The Chair asked whether there would then be discussions with the Provincial Treasuries on the delegation of powers, as well as an evaluation of the capacities that existed. She asked whether the prescribed framework would then be drawn up after this consultation.

Mr Pillay agreed. He stated that the Bill did stipulate that any regulations or frameworks created by the legislation must be put through Parliament as well.

Mr Tarr stated that Mr Pillay's explanation assisted considerably in answering his earlier question regarding the roles of the departments. He stated that he hoped that a process would now be introduced which clarified the delegations.

The Chair stated that her understanding was that some of these amendments were raised in response to the contentions made by the Provincial Treasuries themselves that their roles were unclear. She stated that the fact that their roles were not clearly spelt out in the Bill was an oversight on the part of the Committee.

Subclause 4
Mr Pillay informed Members that this sub clause assisted National Treasury in enforcing compliance with the measures contained in the Bill.

Mr K Moloto (ANC) stated that he was not sure who would be responsible to ensure that the process stipulated in 5(4)(a)(ii) was followed.

Mr Pillay replied that the problem under the existing legal framework was that there was no direct link between the municipality's budget and its plans. All the development planning issues were contained in the Municipal Systems Act, and the direct roles were carried by the National and Provincial Departments for Provincial and Local Government. This system was retained in the Bill. This provision in the Bill did however aim to ensure the preparation, such as the annual review, and this was directly linked to and aligned with the Systems Act.

The Chair stated that the Bill stipulated that the Provincial Treasury must merely monitor the financial management and performance of the municipality, and did not therefore have any powers of intervention. She asked powers the Provincial Treasury was of the view that the municipality's budget did not reflect its Industrial Development Programme (IDP), for example. She asked whether this excluded the MEC for Local Government from these provisions.

Mr Pillay answered in the negative and stated that none of the provisions excluded any MEC, but instead included the alignment and coherence. National Treasury had already prepared a Budget Process Plan in the pilot municipalities running around the country, and it spoke to the different processes and engagements. This plan was really the "meat" of this matter and guided municipalities as to how they would engage the National and Provincial Treasuries. The monitoring process thus focused on the presentation of the plan by the municipal manager ten months in advance, in order to ensure that this was done. The roles were clearly spelt out here.

The Chair stated this it must be ensured that these provisions did not create any conflict between the MEC for Provincial and Local Government and the MEC for Finance, given the connectedness of the budget preparation process to the municipal systems. She asked whether Treasury has ensured that the powers granted to the MEC for Provincial and Local Government in the Municipal Systems Act, which defined these processes, did not conflict with the powers granted to the MEC for Finance in this Bill.

Mr Pillay responded that National Treasury did check for this and ensured that there was a protocol to guide these operations. He reassured Members that these provisions did not diminish the existing powers granted to MECs.

Clauses 6, 8, 9, 11, 12, 14, 17, 21-24. 26-28, 31, 33, 37, 38, 41, 46, 53, 54 and 65
Mr Pillay took Members through the amendments proposed to these clauses, and no objections were raised.

Clause 71
The Chair stated that the proposed amendment to 71(6) was a very important insertion, because it allowed provincial legislatures to monitor the state of municipal finances on a monthly basis.

Mr Tarr stated that many of these amendments placed a much bigger workload on Provincial Treasuries, and asked whether they were consulted to check whether they had the necessary personnel needed to perform these additional functions.

Mr Pillay replied that the Provincial Treasuries were consulted on this, and this work floor plan was developed with them. Chief Directorates have been created in all the provinces already to deal with this, and at the moment seven of the nine already have more than one or two representatives for the Provincial Department for Provincial and Local Government. The Joint Committee on Municipal Finance was established, and both the national and provincial departments of Finance and Provincial and Local Government were represented in that forum. Such engagement needed to be promoted.

The Chair stated that she welcomed the useful division of labour between the two provincial departments.

Clauses 72-74, 79, 84-90, 95, 97 and 99
Mr Pillay took Members through the amendments proposed to these clauses, and no objections were raised by Members.

Clause 101
Mr Pillay stated that this amendment linked and locked the reporting lines by the municipal entity through to the municipality, and this would provide the reasons for the introduction of a revised budget, should it be drafted.

Clauses 104 and 107
Mr Pillay took Members through the amendments proposed to these clauses, and no objections were raised by Members.

Clauses 112, 113 and 116
Mr Pillay stated that the amendments effected to Chapter 11 dealt largely with the wording to ensure consistency with the new provisions in the national processes around tendering.

Clause 117
The Chair sought clarity on this amendment and asked whether council would not approve a tender in the final instance, once it received the recommendation from the tender committee..

Mr Pillay replied that if it referred to the council then it related to a policy decision that was being taken by the council regarding the establishment of its internal policy on the matter. The policy would have to reflect the criteria that would be used to evaluate all tenders received, and thus the direct involvement of councilors in the tender process was thus replaced by these objective criteria.

The Chair asked whether this amendment precluded deliberations on the tender in the municipal council per se.

Mr Pillay responded that the provision did not preclude such deliberations.

The Chair asked whether the amendment stipulated that no municipal council committee could approve the tender, but that a tender could only be approved by a full meeting of the municipal council itself.

Mr Pillay answered in the affirmative, and stated that the municipal council ultimately approved the tender but was not involved in the deliberations process as part of the tender committee.

Clauses 118 and 120
Mr Pillay took Members through the technical amendments proposed to these clauses, and no objections were raised by Members.

Clause 121-125, 127-129, 132 and 133
Mr Pillay took Members through the clarificatory amendments proposed to these clauses, and no objections were raised by Members.

Clause 134
Mr Pillay welcomed the introduction of this new clause as it ensured consistency with the Systems Act, and allowed for a coherent reporting framework through to Parliament.

Clauses 135, 139, 141, 143, 145-148, 150-153, 155, 158 and 167
Mr Pillay took Members through the clarificatory and technical amendments proposed to these clauses, and no objections were raised by Members.

The Chair stated that the primary amendments effected to the Bill were aimed at delineating a role for the MEC's for Local Government and Finance, and the second was to tighten the financial arrangements that related to municipal entities. The amendments effected by the NCOP were very useful and did refine the role of the MEC's, because the Bill did not setout the role to be played by the Provincial Treasuries even though this Bill must be implemented by the National Treasury.

The Chair read the Committee Report on the Bill, to which all Members agreed.

Report on Medium Term Budget Policy Statement
Mr Tarr stated that the Committee was not making any recommendations in the Report because it was already a fait accompli, and this appeared to be a futile process. He suggested that the Committee state in its Report that Parliament should consider involving Committees more in the budget process as well as in the Medium-Term Budget process. If this were not done the current process would not mean anything.

The Chair stated that she could not agree more with Mr Tarr. The current budget process was farcical and inadequate, and the Committee was not able to scrutinise or exercise oversight over it at all. It must included in the Report that the Committee noted once again that there has been no progress in the way in which the budgets were processed through Parliament, and this left the Committee with very little creative space within which to engage with the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS). The current process was merely a reflect exercise, and provided very little meaning apart from an informational tool.

Dr Woods agreed with the Chair and Mr Tarr. He stated that the current situation in Parliament's Joint Budget Committee was far worse, as its Members merely regurgitated documents received from National Treasury. The lack of oversight exercised by this Committee over the MTBPS meant that no sense of substantive purpose was derived from the exercise, and a completely neutral report was produced by the Committee as it conducted no analysis and provided no recommendations. He stated that the Committee was in fact not able to apply its mind to the MTBPS in any way.

The Chair agreed and stated that, although the decision was initially taken that a completely neutral report be tabled by this Committee, the current process must be reviewed and reformulated.

Dr Odendaal informed Members that Parliament's Joint Rules Committee had considered this very matter in a meeting held earlier in the week, and he hoped that something would come out of that process.

Mr A Blaas (ACDP) sought clarity on the role played by Parliament's Joint Budget Committee in this process, as this might create even further confusion.

The Chair stated that this was another cause for concern. This Committee only considered the macro-economics and not the individual expenditures. She stated that she has been in consultation with the Chairpersons of the Joint Budget Committee and the NCOP Committee to informally discuss these problems, and they were of the view that the three Committees needed to meet to thrash out a way forward. But this seemed almost futile now because any recommendations made by this Committee would not necessarily be binding on a future Parliament.

She noted that the Committee agreed to the Committee Report on the MTBPS, with the amendment proposed by Mr Tarr.

Committee Annual Report
The Chair stated that the Committee Report would be approved by the Committee on Tuesday 2 December 2003.

The meeting was adjourned.


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