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06 November 2006
COMMITTEE REPORT ON THE MEDIUM TERM BUDGET EXPENDITURE POLICY STATEMENT: CONSIDERATION
Co-Chairpersons: Ms L Mabe (ANC) and Mr B N Mkhaliphi (ANC Mpumalanga)
Document handed out
Draft Report on the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement 2006 – Parts 1, 2 & 3
The Committee met to review its Report on the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement for 2006 as well as to develop recommendations and observations regarding this process. The Report would be adopted the following day, prior to its debate in the National Assembly on Wednesday.
Although the Committee noted key challenges of respective departments, common challenges were also highlighted. High vacancy rates in departments reflected the ineffectiveness of staff retention strategies. A minimum stay period should be developed to minimize these vacancies. Concerns were raised regarding the impact of the financial requirements of preparations for the 2010 Soccer World Cup on the budgetary allocations for departments. It was noted that the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism placed more emphasis on tourism, particularly as it related to the 2010 Soccer World Cup. Environmental issues, especially problems related to environmental impact assessments, were not receiving adequate attention.
The Committee noted that the absence of accounting officers of particular departments during the hearing process strained its ability to exercise oversight over public expenditure. These departments were not allowed to make presentations. The report would stress the importance of departments’ adherence to the deadlines for further written documentation requested by the Committee. Such documentation was critical in monitoring departmental spending.
The Report would also express a need for Departments to report on the projected expenditure for the outer years of the current Medium Term Budget Expenditure Framework (MTEF).
Ms L Mabe (Co-chairperson) opened the discussions by requesting members to focus on the substantive issues in the report, rather than grammatical errors. She said that most departments had not focused their presentations on the Medium Term Expenditure Framework period and this had been noted in the report.
Theme 1: Rural Development and Urban Renewal
Department of Agriculture and Land Affairs (DLA)
Ms J Fubbs (ANC) asked whether the Committee had received the requested written documentation on the details of the Department’s chronic-under expenditure. She noted that the Committee had also requested the Department to submit written responses to those questions that had not been adequately answered during their submissions. This was to be submitted within seven days.
Ms Mabe confirmed that, while the Committee requested detailed written responses to those questions that had not been adequately answered, the director-general provided this seven-day deadline. If the Committee had not received the document within this timeframe – a follow-up would be made.
Ms Mabe expressed a need for the committee to develop a clear stance regarding its requests for additional written responses. The clarity of the instruction had to be adequately reflected in the report.
Mr S. Dithebe (ANC) concurred that the Committee should unambiguously express this instruction for written reports. He stressed that the Committee’s recommendations depended on its understanding of the nature of the challenges faced by departments. A specific time period needed to be supplied.
Ms Fubbs replied that the report had to reflect whether the Committee or the accounting officer provided timeframes for receipt of written documentations. In this instance, the Director-General (DG) had committed the department to a seven-day deadline. She stressed that the Committee had to ensure that the Department adhered to such requests.
Ms Mabe stressed that the committees of parliament had the right to request information from a department. However, such request should be specific and strategies were needed to ensure that such submissions were received. The Committee had to issue request for written responses from several government departments during the hearings.
The Committee agreed that the report would emphasized the dissatisfaction of responses provided during the meeting, and its request for detailed written responses.
Ms Fubbs commented that the Committee needed to respond to the Department’s acknowledgement of the limited success of its staff retention strategy. There was no minimum stay period provided for appointments. Was the Committee’s enquiry motivated by concern over how this problem would be addressed by the Department? She stressed if a department could not retain staff, it would hold implications for the expenditure patterns of the institution. Additionally, skilled people were necessary for the completion of projects and delivery of services. She added that although the Department had expressed a need to retain staff, current expenditure patterns did not reveal any financial commitment to improve staff capacity.
Mr Mabe replied that the hearings revealed a common problem across departments regarding their ability to retain staff. As there was currently no minimum stay policy in place that departments had to adhere to, the Committee report should caution that this lack of policy would be problematic for the public sector.
Members agreed that the committee report would note the lack of staff retention policy in the Department. It would make a general recommendation that the Department of Public Service and Administration develop a minimum stay period for all public departments to adhere to. Mechanisms needed to be in place to ensure that people did not fluctuate between departments.
Department of Land Affairs
Dr P J Rabie (DA) recalled that the discussion between the Department and Members regarding the “willing –seller/ willing-buyer” concept had revealed the need for Department to accelerate this process. The department had to examine its own position regarding the finalization of land sales.
Ms Mabe acknowledged that this issue had been discussed at length, even during the hearings by Agri- South Africa. The Department’s activities and strategies regarding the selling of land were not clear.
Dr Rabie commented that since there was no shortage of suitable land that could be sold, DLA needed to revisit its strategy.
Ms Mabe clarified that the issues of ‘willing seller/willing buyer’ had been discussed as part questions regarding DLA’s need to accelerate all activities to achieve its 2014 targets. Although the DLA acknowledged that they had not as yet developed a clear position in this regard, this issue had not been raised in isolation.
Ms Fubbs suggested that since the acceleration of processes to achieve 2014 targets held implications for pattern of outer year funding, the Committee should recommend that the DLA develop strategies to speed up this process. Although the Department had highlighted the need for more funds, it had to provide adequate explanation of expenditure targets. It was crucial to indicate how and why it expected to spend funds over every three year MTEF cycle.
Ms Mabe said that the Department had yielded funds for land restitution to the National Treasury. It had also expressed concern over the retention of money in the National Treasury, despite efforts to speed up activities. In addition to this, frustration over negotiations with farm owners was also raised. Did the slow allocation of funds reflect that the Department had given up on the completion of this process?
Mr S Dithebe said that references were made to the lack of capacity of municipalities to facilitate delivery of DLA functions. The DLA suggested that a solution would lie in the business process re-engineering. Was this an actual project of the department? If not been started, the Committee should indicate the need for the DLA to explore this proposition.
Ms Mabe said that the hearings revealed a tendency of Department to shift responsibility for inefficiencies to municipalities. It was expected that national departments work together in an integrated and coordinated manner. Shifting responsibility revealed that they were clearly not adequately integrated nor coordinated. National Departments had the responsibility of assisting municipalities with certain functions.
Dr Rabie stated that departments should not allow particular challenges to derail their focus. Proactive measures needed to be taken to ensure that 2014 targets should be met.
Ms Mabe commented that the Committee had expressed these recommendations during the hearings. This should be reflected in the committee report.
The Committee expressed agreement to include these recommendations.
Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF)
Mr Dithebe said that although the state had expressed a commitment to eradicating the bucket system, the DWAF had to provide clarity on whether it had experienced any fiscal constraints to achieve this target. It was also not clear whether DWAF would achieve its 2006/2007 targets.
Although Ms Mabe replied that the Department had assured it would achieve its targets, Mr Dithebe requested this commitment to be reflected in the report.
Ms Mabe stressed the importance of written documentation, including written commitments. These documents were important references in order to monitor the progress made by departments.
Ms R.Mashigo (ANC) wondered whether the DWAF had supplied any information regarding the incorporation of ineffective water boards into municipalities.
Ms Mabe said that although the Department was not clear, some water boards would be incorporated into municipalities. She agreed that more details regarding this process had to be provided.
Mr Dithebe commented that since the committee concerned itself with the principles of economic efficiency, DWAF should report on this process. This document needed to include an assessment of the capacity of water boards.
Ms Mabe explained that the process had already commenced. The committee should recommend that the department should provide the necessary information about the extent of the incorporation.
Mr Dithebe asked whether the DWAF would produce a preliminary report on the restructuring process. He suggested that Department the Committee recommend that the Department report to the Committee as soon as the restructuring process was underway.
Ms Mabe suggested that the Department should be requested to report back to the Committee within a six month period. This would be at the end of the current financial year.
Ms Fubbs suggested that the timeframe should suggest the urgency of the request documentation. Such information was critical to concretize the expenditure for the next financial year. The committee needed to decide whether the documentation should be received before or after the end of the current financial year.
The Committee agreed that it request the Department to submit a written report on the restructuring and incorporation of the water boards into municipalities, within the next three months, prior to the end of the current financial year.
Theme 2: Justice and Protection Services
Ms Mabe said that the Departments of Correctional Services, Justice and Constitutional Development as well as Safety and Security were not allowed to participate in the hearing process due to the absence of key accounting officers.
Dr Rabie commented that the Committee needed to stress the importance of the presence of accounting officers at such hearings to ensure that Parliament could exercise its oversight role effectively.
Linked to this, Ms Fubbs said that the report should reflect the mandate as well as the committee’s oversight duties effectively. It needed to highlight the purpose of the committee as well as the importance of political oversight. Information contained documents such as the quarterly reports were not sufficient for the oversight role of Committees. Accounting officers had to present themselves to Committees in order to account for the activities and work of their departments.
The Committee agreed that the report would stress the importance of accounting officers’ presence in meetings. The mandate of the Committee would also look at its oversights role.
Department of Safety and Security (DSS)
Mr Dithebe reminded the committee that the government Programme of Action highlighted the need to reduce contact crime by 10 percent. As the Department did not emphasize the need for the reduction of contact crime, the Committee could request through its recommendations a progress report on the frequency of contact crimes. This was important, as victims of such crimes were often the most vulnerable of society.
Ms Mabe suggested that since the department had not brief the committee, the Committee develop a common recommendation for the security cluster. It was therefore very difficult to scrutinize their [written] submissions. The Committee would request the Department to account about their expenditure in the near future. She said that before the Committee could make recommendations on the work of specific departments in the security cluster, it had to have clarity on the challenges faced by each department.
The Committee agreed that the report would indicate the pending meeting with the security cluster departments regarding their funding projections.
Ms Mashigo said that there was no continuity in the work of the different departments of the security cluster. She stressed that departments had to reflect the link between the projects of different departments.
Ms Mabe acknowledged the Member’s inputs. However, she cautioned members to not focus on the content of the report. The security cluster would be invited to make submission to the Committee and would thus be held to account for their activities and budgets. The Committee could then establish the extent of interactions across departments. She emphasized that the levels of crime was a major challenge in South Africa and therefore, the need for the meetings with the cluster.
Ms Fubbs said that the Committee should not create the impression that a written submission was a means to hold a department to account. This would make a mockery of the process. The importance of such meetings needed to be stressed. Although agreeing with the idea of a uniform recommendation for the security cluster, the committee should stress that the written submissions supplied by the departments had created confusion regarding their financial positions and expenditure.
Ms Mabe reaffirmed that the departments had not made proposals regarding the MTEBS process and accounting officers had to brief the Committee regarding this process. The department needed to be made accountable for their expenditure. The committee raised their concerns over the absence of the accounting officers during the proceedings.
The Committee approved of the inclusion of these observations and recommendations in the committee report.
The Department of Minerals and Energy (DME)
Mr Dithebe questioned the stated response of the Director–General, that DME was a victim of the policies it created.
Ms Mabe suggested that this phrase should be omitted, as the Committee had not had time to engage the DG on it. She said that the statement was politically loaded and that its inclusion could create chaos. The Committee should avoid any misrepresentation of the views expressed by the Department.
Mr A Ganief, Committee Researcher, explained that the statement was not properly conceptualized in the report. The DG referred to the Department’s battle to retain staff, since many skilled people were being lost to the private sector to meet the requirements of affirmative action policies.
Ms Mabe reiterated the suggestion that the statement should be removed as the Committee needed to explore the statement made by the DG. She added that this was an issue for the Portfolio Committee on Minerals and Energy to explore.
Dr Rabie said the report should commend the Department of Minerals and Energy on a very thorough presentation.
Ms Mabe said that this could be raised during the debate.
The Committee agreed to omit the statement.
Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT)
Mr Dithebe asked whether the report suggested that the frequency of virements of funds violated the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA)? He noted that the department would provide a written explanation. What was the verdict of the Committee?
Mr Mkhaliphi explained that although the virements were within the requirements of the PFMA, the Committee raised concerns over the frequency of virements in the passed financial year. This raised questions regarding the planning and budgeting of the department. The committee needed an explanation for these incidences.
Ms Mabe added the Department’ tended to practice this option annually, and therefore the manner in which the department planned its finances had to be scrutinized.
Mr Dithebe said that while the Department had revealed the outcomes of an audit report subsequent to the adoption of the Accelerated Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa (ASGISA), it was not clear which steps would betaken to address the lack of sufficient funding to provide for environmental impact assessments to certain spheres of government. He proposed that the committee should recommend decisive steps to resolve this matter.
Ms Mabe commented that the Committee had raised the need for the acceleration of this process as well as an increase in the Department’s capacity to do so, during the proceedings. The committee also raised heir concerns the delay in the completion of projects by municipalities and even national departments due to prolonged EIAs.
The Committee agreed that this interaction with the Committee had to be included in the Report.
Ms Mabe commented that the Department had seemed more focused on tourism than environmental affairs. She proposed that the Committee include the observation that the Department had focused more on preparations for the Soccer World Cup in 2010 as well as tourism, rather than environmental affairs.
Ms Fubbs commented that the ration of expenditure between the two divisions would be revealing.
The Committee expressed agreement.
Ms Fubbs commented that the statement expressing the Committee’s satisfaction with the expenditure trends of the Department, be omitted. Could the Committee verify whether the Department’s spending patterns were satisfactory? This needed to be omitted, as the Committee’s view was not properly placed.
The Committee agreed to the omission of this statement.
Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA)
Ms Fubbs noted the recommendation by DPSA that ‘tighter and more centralized oversight mechanisms over how posts were created and utilized, backed up by clearly communicated and agreed upon norms and standards”. This was a responsibility of the DPSA and formed part of its functions.
Mr Mkhaliphi agreed and said that this had been raised with the Department.
Mr G Schneeman (ANC) commented that the number of vacancies in the Department had to be included in the report. This high number of vacancies went to the heart of spending and under spending by departments. He added the DPSA provided this figure during its presentation.
The Committee agreed to this suggestion.
Although welcoming the Committee’s request for further clarification on certain aspects of the DPSA’s presentation, Ms Fubbs expressed her concerns that the accounting officers should have been able to provide adequate answered to questions during the hearings.
Mr Mkhaliphi explained that the committee had demanded further written responses since explanations provided had been brief and doubtful. Ms Dambuza added that that department often prepared presentations that were more suitable for their respective portfolio committees. As a result, these departments could not supply the necessary responses to the questions answered. Officials merely explained that they did not have the information readily available.
Department of Public Enterprises (DPE)
Mr Dithebe commented that the Committee report should state the technical difficulties preventing the conclusion of the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR) project, the Department had referred to in its presentation.
Mr Bester (Consultant, AFREC) said procurement of certain components had been unexpectedly high.
Mr Rabie said that the Department’s plans to erect two gas turbines at Coega and Mossel Bay, as a means to curb the power shortage in the Western Cape, be included in the report.
The Committee agreed to include these points.
Federation of the Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA)
Mr Schneeman commented that FEDUSA’s presentation revealed the federation’s dissatisfaction with the low salary rate of participants in the Extended Public Works Programme. This needed to be included in the report. He added that the federation had raised this issue in the previous year.
The Committee expressed agreement with this inclusion.
Department of Transport (DoT)
Ms Fubbs said that since the Department was critical in providing the necessary [transport] infrastructure for the 2010 Soccer World Cup, it should have participated in the hearings. The current MTEF period was crucial for planning the expenditure projections. This should be stressed in the report and written clarifications on expenditure projections needed to be supplied especially those pertaining to the 2010 Soccer World Cup.
The committee agreed that, although such information was included in the written submissions, it had to be added to the report.
Department of Education (DoE)
Mr Rabie said that he was very impressed with the Director-general’s honest and frank submission. Significantly, the DG had revealed that although South Africa had sufficient teachers, rural areas continue to experience a shortage of classrooms. Additionally, the importance of the availability of textbooks for all pupils was revealed. The committee had to recommend that targets be set to provide textbooks to all learners.
Ms Fubbs said that that the report did not reflect the relationship between the shortage of teachers and classrooms and impact of migration and rezoning cited in the presentation. There would therefore still be a shortage of teachers in particular areas.
The committee agreed with this amendment.
Mr Dithebe commented that the department needed to develop a strategy to further nurture competency in mathematics and science. The progress made was not very clear and merely stated that mathematical literacy was to be made compulsory. As the department placed a great emphasis on mathematics and science in the schooling system, the committee needed to stress the need for the Department to collaborate with other departments such as Science and Technology.
The Committee agreed to these suggestions.
Ms Fubbs commented that although departments expressed their satisfaction that they had sufficient money for their activities, the Committee needed to analyze the departments projected expenditure to establish whether sufficient funds were available. Projected expenditure figures for the outer years of the current MTEF period, while not provided by some department, were critical. The committee had to note this omission.
While Mr Mkhaliphi and Mr Dithebe proposed the statement to express the Committees satisfaction that the Department could reach its targets set within the limits of available resources, Ms Mabe, Mr Schneeman and Ms B. Dambuza (ANC) agreed that the Committee should refrain from making such statements.
The Committee agreed to remove the statement. The Committee report would note the lack of information regarding the projected expenditure for the outer year of the current MTEF period. It would note that and evaluation of expenditure trends and projections needed more time and certain documentation were necessary.
The Department of Public Works
Mr Schneeman commented that the report needed to reflect he estimated 900 vacancies in the Department.
Ms Fubbs noted the Committee’s observation that the construction industry was not geared up for particular large scale government projects and that the DPW had to interact with the private sector in this regard. Why was this particular stance taken?
Mr Mkhaliphi said this recommendation stemmed from the Department’s commitment to and committee’s observation that all relevant stakeholders needed to be communicated with. The Department had committed itself to such a resolution the previous year.
Mr Dithebe noted the delay in the passage of the Immovable Asset Management Bill. How did this impact on the management of immovable assets in the Department?
Ms Mashigo said the Department confirmed that the Public Finance Management Act required the recording of all assets – movable and immovable. Ms Fubbs added that departments were obligated to have a register, as the AG would not have commented on the matter.
Ms Mashigo noted the Department’s indication that it would be devolving funds to line departments by the end of the next budgetary cycle. This had to be captured.
Mr Mkhaliphi explained that department managed funds intended for projects developed by other departments. The Department merely provided the technical assistance regarding the management of these projects, to other departments.
People Budget Coalition (PBC)
Mr Dithebe acknowledged the concerns raised by PBC over the Pebble Bed Nuclear Reactor (PBMR) project. He said that the Committee needed to reaffirm the need to explore peaceful nuclear energy programmes such as PBMR as part of its commitment to the production of renewable energy resources. In light of the concerns expressed by the coalition regarding PBMR, the Committee needed to express its dissatisfaction over greater emphasis on tourism rather than environmental concerns by the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism.
The Committee expressed agreement.
Department of Health
Dr Rabie commented that the department had to provide more information regarding the formulation of comprehensive plan on the prevention, care, treatment and support for HIV and Aids. The Committee needed to insist on a written submission that had to be submitted within a specific timeframe.
Dr Rabie stressed the importance of childcare grants. This needed to be emphasized in the report.
Mr Dithebe noted the slow pace of the hospital revitalization process. The Committee should express its opinion regarding this inadequate funding for this project cited by the Department. How much money would be sufficient? He said that the health of South Africans should not be compromised due to a possible bias in the funding allocations for the 2010 Soccer World Cup. Ms Fubbs added that the Department needed to describe the specific bottlenecks in this hospital revitalization programme.
Mr Mkahliphi said that the Department had to provide a written explanation for the need of the projected R1 billion over the next three years, for the completion of the project. The Department needed to explain why the four hospitals included in this project had not yet been completed.
Ms Mashigo expressed her dissatisfaction at the inadequate responses made by the DG, regarding the revitalization process. This needed to be noted.
Ms Fubbs said that although the Department regarded the adequate remuneration of health care professionals as priority, it focused on those professionals with forensic skills. More detailed elaboration was needed.
Ms Fubbs expressed a need for the Department to highlight those priorities that were regarded as more urgent. This was important when considering further funding allocations to this Department. Mr Mkhaliphi noted that the Department had not made this distinction. A more thorough engagement was needed.
Mr Mkhaliphi noted the under spending on conditional grants by provincial departments and municipalities. This was a cause of concern.
Ms Mabe said that the hearings highlighted that national departments tended to pass responsibility for the inadequacies to provincial departments. Mr Dithebe added that the national departments had an obligation to ensure that such funding was spent on the intended capital projects. Although the Committee should not absolve provincial departments’ responsibility, national departments had an important obligation in terms of intergovernmental fiscal relations. The Committee had to express this responsibility clearly.
The Committee agreed.
Mr Dithebe noted the DG had drawn a relationship between the take-up of child support grants and the increase in teenage pregnancies. Had the Department commissioned research organizations such as the Human Sciences research Council and the Medical Research Council to conduct such research? Had this hypothesis been empirically tested?
Ms Mashigo said that the DG had made this statement in his capacity as Chairperson of the cluster. This statement should therefore be deleted. Mr Dithebe responded that he was concerned about the origins of the statement. He stressed that before such assertions were made, the necessary research had to be conducted.
Ms Fubbs raised her concerns about such public statements by key accounting officers of departments. She said that the statement suggested a clear causal relationship between the two variables. The Department needed to elaborate on the additional unintended outcomes of the child support grant. The Committee’s statement on this matter should include the observation that the evidence for such an assertion was not robust.
Ms Mabe suggested that the clause be removed as the DG’s response to questions on the effectiveness of health related grants were not adequate.
The Committee agreed to the removal of this statement.
Department of Housing
Ms Dambuza informed the Committee that the Department’s presentation highlighted that the increased demand in building materials such as bricks and cement due to the 2010 infrastructure developments, posed a challenge to the Department’s housing and thus delivery targets in particular provinces. This needed to be highlighted in the committee report.
The Committee agreed to this suggestion.
Mr Dithebe commented that the urgency of the Committee’s request for written responses to questions had to be emphasized. Ms Dambuze added that the Committee should provide specific deadlines.
Ms Mabe suggested that the deadline for be set for the end of January 2007. The review of these documents should be part of the preliminary work for the new parliamentary session.
The Committee agreed to this deadline.
Department of Home Affairs
Ms Fubbs asked what the Department’s meant assertion that it’s mid-year expenditure was “below norm”. Did the Department have a set standard for spending funds? Related to this she raised her concerns about the seriousness of the vacancy problem, if an intervention task team had been established. More details were required.
Ms Mabe responded that the Department had indicated that the task team had been established for a period of six months. She concurred that the Department needed to report back to the Committee on both the problem of vacant posts as well as how the Department would efficiently manage its finances. She stressed that the Department had not as yet received a unqualified audit report from the Auditor-General and this indicated the departments inability to spend and plan budgets efficiently. Mr Dithebe added that The Committee report had to include a recommendation that the Department should ensure that the outcomes of audit reports improve.
The Committee agreed to the inclusion of these recommendations.
Ms Mabe stressed the importance of the efficient identity document authorization. She suggested the committee recommend that the Department develop measures to ensure that smaller children be issues similar identity documents.
The Committee expressed agreement.
Department Of Social Development (DSD)
Ms Dambuza commented that the DSD had not elaborated on its capital expenditure and the report needed to highlight this.
Ms Mabe added that the Department needed to indicate whether its strategy to avoid the occurrence of under spending had been a success.
Mr Mkhaliphi commented that that the findings of the database of forensic investigation findings were to be forwarded by 10 November. Had such information been received? Ms Mabe added that this date should remain unchanged.
Ms Dambuza expressed a need for the Department to comment on the eligibility of child support grants.
The Committee agreed to these suggestions.
Department of Sport and Recreation
Ms Mabe said that the report needed to indicate the absence of accounting officers at the hearings. The Department, although supplied written submissions, was not allowed to make written submissions. This needed to be indicated in the report.
The Committee expressed agreement with this suggestion.
Mr Mkahliphi said the Department was a central department for the Soccer World Cup in 2010. The Committee should recommend that the need for the department to focus on key priority areas and the accompanying expenditure for this event.
The Committee expressed agreement with this suggestion.
South African Local Government Association (SALGA)
Mr Dithebe commented that the Committee needed to make a comment about SALGA’s recommendation that the child support grant and an extensive school nutrition programme be extended to also cover children between the ages of 14 and 18 years. He added that the Committee’s silence could be misinterpreted.
Mr Dithebe also commented that local government scholarship programmes such as Siyeza Manje should be extended to grade 10 learners, to ensure that potential beneficiaries could be nurtured.
The Committee agreed to these suggestions.
Department of Trade and Industry
The Committee agreed to indicate that the Department was not allowed to present due to the absence of accounting officers.
Section 3: Committee Observations and Recommendations
Due to time constraints, members resolved to continue with the discussion the following day.
The meeting was adjourned.
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