29 March 2019 - NW437
Shackleton, Mr MS to ask the Minister of Finance
What are the details of the policy certainty that the Government has strengthened as alluded to in the 2019 Budget Review?
Progress has been made on key interventions to restore policy certainty as outlined in the 2019 Budget Review. These include:
1. Visa amendments and immigration reform: Gazetted amendments to the Immigration Act (2002) will waive the requirement of an unabridged birth certificate for children traveling from certain countries. Revised requirements for business visas clarify the documentation and accreditations required. An e-visa system will be launched with New Zealand as the pilot case. It will then be rolled out to other countries. The scarce skills list will be updated by March 2019.
2. Mining policy: Government issued a new Mining Charter. The Minister of Mineral Resources has signaled that controversial amendments to the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (2002) are no longer in keeping with the policy intent. Separate legislation for the regulation of oil and gas is being developed and consultations with various stakeholders are under way.
3. Administered price review: The Department of Energy has invited the public to comment on the basic fuel price review until 31 March 2019. Stakeholder consultations are under way to identify ways to improve the efficiency and reduce the costs of ports and rail, making the country’s exports more competitive.
4. Procurement: The Public Procurement Bill is being finalised. It will consolidate various procurement laws into one national legislative framework. Provisions in the bill will encourage participation from black-, youth- and women-owned businesses in state procurement.
5. Telecommunications spectrum: The impasse on licensing has been resolved and licensing for high-demand spectrum will commence this year, with the process expected to be completed in 2020/21.
Prior to this, the 2018 Medium Term Budget Policy Statement reported progress on longstanding policy issues including:
1. Renewable energy: Eskom’s conclusion of 27 outstanding power-purchase agreements with independent power producers.
2. Energy planning: The reestablishment of a sustainable approach to energy planning by updating the Integrated Resource Plan for consideration by Parliament.
3. Land reform: Creating a panel to advise government on measures to effect fair and equitable land reform that will increase agricultural output and build self-sufficiency in food production.
Government is also acting decisively to mitigate the risks that Eskom poses to the economy and the public finances. The restructuring of the electricity sector and state support for Eskom’s balance sheet are central to a transparent and credible reform of the utility’s business model. This forms part of government’s broader agenda to restore good governance and financial stability at public institutions and state-owned companies.
Collectively, these efforts illustrate the progress made in providing policy certainty.