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MINERALS AND ENERGY PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
17 May 2000
Parliamentary Portfolio Committee - budget challenges
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The Committee had enlisted the aid of the Energy and Development Research Council (EDRC) to discuss how they may use the budget to understand government's priorities and actions. The goal is to be able to have a long-term impact and input that is continuous and not only immediately prior to each budget debate.
(Note: the presentation dealt only with energy matters, not minerals.)
Each year, for the past five years, the EDRC has made a thorough analysis of the Department of Minerals and Energy (DME) budget. Until recently, however, there has been no system in place with which to understand the more than 50 policy projects in relation to one another. Now, however, tools have been developed to enable a more systemic analysis. These include a results-oriented approach to management, the Labat Plan, to align the strategic plan with the new government's vision, the recently approved structure for the DME, a draft Service Delivery Improvement Programme (SDIP), a performance management system and a skills audit.
At this point, it is still impossible to link priorities to the budget, but the hope is that these tools will make it possible from next year.
What is clear is that the Energy Management Budget for 2000-2001 is insufficient with respect to the Minister's priorities. In fact the Chair, Duma Nkosi, commented that it almost looks like the government wants the Ministry to become a small monitoring unit. If that is the case, then it needs to be informed. If not, the overall figure allocated needs to be renegotiated. But the Committee needs a structured way to continue this discussion.
Professor Mohammed was emphatic in that figures are crucial for the Committee to exercise oversight, including a breakdown of figures by programme.
The Director General said that he shared concern about the lack of consultation on the budget that was allocated to the Department, and that the Minister has now taken a strong position in discussions with the Minister of Finance. He said he is hopeful that the draft strategic plan will be approved next week, and that this will be linked to the budget for next year. Specific figures for specific line functions would be available for the Committee to use for monitoring purposes, as well as the above mentioned tools to enhance assessment.
The end of the meeting was devoted to administrative issues. Mr. Nkosi mentioned that neither the Lebowa Mineral Trust Bill nor the Eskom Succession Bill had yet been referred to the Committee.
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