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JOINT BUDGET COMMITTEE
8 November 2004
REPORT ON MEDIUM TERM BUDGET POLICY STATEMENT: ADOPTION
Chairpersons: Mr N Nene (ANC) and Mr B Mkhaliphi (ANC, Mpumalanga)
Documents handed out
Report on the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement 2004
The Committee adopted a report on the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) 2004 with minor amendments.
Mr Nene explained that the report had been drafted by a small multiparty task team, consisting of himself, Dr S Cwele (ANC), Dr P Rabie (DA) and Mr M Stephens (UDM). The team agreed that the report reflected what had transpired. Some minor textural amendments were being made. Table 1 had been taken from the IDASA submission, and the Committee Researcher had been asked to verify the numbers.
Mr T Ralane (ANC, Free State) said that, in the previous Parliament, the Joint Budget Committee had agreed to omit graphs to make reports more reader-friendly. If this table could be properly aligned, such graphs could be allowed this term. Mr Nene agreed that it should be retained if it could be aligned.
Dr Rabie suggested that the source be accepted, as there was insufficient time to verify the figures. Mr Nene explained that the new deflators might have been used. He moved with the suggestion, provided that the source and deflators used were explained.
Mr Ralane felt there was confusion with the Committee Concerns and Comments after each submission. Some contained explanations by the Departments, rather than Committee concerns, for example in the Department of Correctional Services submission.
Mr G Schneemann (ANC) concurred, and said that it affected the whole document. Mr Nene recommended revising this in the final report.
Mr Ralane noted the Concerns regarding the submission by the Department of Communications and asked whether the notes on the South African Post Office (SAPO) readiness were a true reflection of the discussion. Mr Schneemann suggested the report read that the Department had responded to the issue. Mr Nene agreed to flag it.
Mr Ralane suggested inserting "the low uptake by provinces and municipalities of transfers and subsidies" in the Committee Concerns and Comments on the Department of Public Works submission. This was noted.
The Committee agreed that the first paragraph of the Committee Concerns about the FEDUSA submission be incorporated into the submission summary. It was also agreed that there would be no Committee Concerns and Comments on the Chamber of Commerce and Industry South Africa (CHAMSA), South African Local Government Association (SALGA) or Agri SA submissions, as these would be absorbed otherwise into the submissions.
Mr Ralane asked for clarity on the statistics referred to in the Agri SA submission summary. Mr Nene replied that these addressed some of the activities mentioned and Agri SA had furnished them as promised.
Dr G Woods (IFP) expressed concern at the number of acronyms that were not explained. He asked that this be checked in the final edit. Mr Nene suggested that full names be used exclusively, or that an addendum of acronyms be added. The Committee were in favour of the use of an addendum.
Mr Stephens pointed out that it had been agreed that the options referred to in the Department of Foreign Affairs submission should be described as policy funding options. Mr Nene concurred.
Mr L Zita (ANC) thought that part of the Committee's mandate was to look at its capacity to amend the Budget. Mr Nene replied that this would be dealt with in due course, but that the MTBPS gave a platform to allow the Committee to start to engage in the budget process.
Mr Ralane referred to the recommendation that Parliament look into the expenditure trends between National MTBPS functional allocations, and provincial budget allocations to the smaller spenders, in order to address concerns of adequate financing at provincial level. A report had recently been released on the trends in intergovernmental finance, and that report had been made annually for the provinces. He was concerned that the recommendation might be irrelevant.
Mr Nene replied that Parliament needed to strengthen its oversight, as the processes were in place.
Dr Cwele referred to the need for Parliament to monitor the alignment of strategic plans to be in line with adjustments. This was noted.
Mr Ralane asked if there was any link to the previous year's recommendations and to what extent these had been implemented. Mr Nene replied that he was not certain whether those recommendations were binding on the new Parliament, but they had been made available to Members and the Researcher, when this report was drafted.
Minor textural amendments were then made throughout the report. Mr Zita moved that the National Assembly Members of the Committee adopt the report. Mr Stephens seconded the motion.
Ms F Nyanda (ANC, Mpumalanga) moved that the NCOP Members of the Committee adopt the report. Mr Ralane seconded the motion.
The meeting was adjourned.
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