ATC210224: Report of the Portfolio Committee Public Service and Administration on consideration of the first and second quarter performance 2020/21 for the Budget Vote 12 of the Statistics South Africa, Dated 24February 2021

Public Service and Administration, Performance Monitoring and Evaluation

Report of the Portfolio Committee Public Service and Administration on consideration of the first and second quarter performance 2020/21 for the Budget Vote 12 of theStatistics South Africa, Dated 24February 2021

 

  1. BACKGROUND

The Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration (hereinafter referred to as the Committee) having considered first and second quarter performance of 2020/21 financial yearof Statistics South Africa, reports as follows:

 

  1. INTRODUCTION

Parliament through its Committees has a constitutional responsibility to oversee quarterly programme performance information of the departments and its entities throughout financial year. The Money Bills Amendment and Related Matters Act (2009) describe the process of exercising this responsibility. The Act states that portfolio committees of parliament must conduct reviews of the finances of their respective departments and entities and if required, issue recommendations on the forward use of resources.

Programme performance information focuses on information that is collected by government departments in the course of fulfilling their mandates and implementing policies. Quarterly performance reports serve as a vital tool used by parliamentary committees to ensure accountability, transparency and oversight on how government resources are spent. Committees are expected to monitor both financial and non-financial performance of the departments. The Public Finance Management Regulations compel departments and their entities to prepare quarterly report within 30 days after the end of each quarter. Committees conduct oversight over performance reports to fulfil Parliament’s oversight and accountability mandates as enshrined in the Constitution and under the rules established by the National Assembly.

On February 10, 2021, the Committee considered firstand secondquarter performance of 2020/21 financial year of Stats SA. Performance information was in accordance with their Strategic Plan, Annual Performance Plan and Medium Term Strategic Framework. The report provides an overview of the presentation made before the Committee primarily focusing on the achievements, output in respect of the performance indicators and targets set for above-mentioned financial year. The report outlines the findings/observations of the Committee relating to the quarterly financial and non-financial performance of Statistics South Africa.

 

  1. PROGRAMME PERFORMANCE

3.1 Budget allocation

Stats SA’s adjusted baseline allocation for the 2020/21 financial year is R3,252 billion. Of the baseline allocation, R1,611 billion is allocated for compensation of employees (CoE) representing 49,5%; R1,326 billion is for goods and services representing 40,8%; R314,238 million for payments of capital assets representing 9,7%; and R526 thousand which is less than 0,1% of the total adjusted budget is allocated for payments of transfers and subsidies. An amount of R200 million was surrendered during the 2020 Special Adjustment Estimates of National Expenditure process. The funds surrendered include R33 million from the operational budget, R150 million which was earmarked for the Income and Expenditure Survey (Poverty Survey) and R17 million which was reprioritized within the baseline for the ISIC 4 project. The Income and Expenditure Survey (Poverty Survey) and ISIC 4 project were suspended mainly as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

The department’s actual spending as at 30 June 2020 amounted to R487,132 million, representing 15,0% of the baseline allocation. The available budget, excluding commitments, amounted to R2,765 billion. The spending as at 30 September 2020 amounted to R1,104 billion, representing 34,0% of the baseline allocation. The available budget, excluding commitments, amounts to R2,149 billion. The department received additional funds amounting to R45 million for CoE in the 2020/21 financial year to cater for the CoE shortfall on filled positions and for the filling of critical vacant positions.

 

Within the Statistical Operations and Provincial Coordination programme, there is earmarked funding for Census 2021 amounting to R854.9 million. As at the end of the second quarter, Census2021 spent R58.6 million representing 7 per cent of the earmarked allocation. Spending is expected to increase in the coming reporting periodsas a multimodal approach of data collection had to be explored on account of the impact of COVID-19 pandemic. 

 

Table 1: Budget per programme

Programme R'000

Adjusted

budget

Actual Expenditure

Available budget

% spent

1. Administration

663279

329018

334261

49.6%

2.Economic Statistics

282145

127414

154 731

45.2%

3. Population and Social Statistics

124166

59104

65 062

47.6%

4. Methodology, Standard and Research

143773

62 932

80841

43.8%

5. Statistical Support and Informatics

281547

98778

182 769

35.1%

  1. Statistical Collection and Outreach

1 713.9

416 073

1 297.8

24.3%

  1. Survey African National Statistics System

43 319

10224

33 095

23.6%

Total

2 252 173

1 103 543

2 148 630

33.9%

 

 

  1. Programme 1: Administration

The purpose of the programme is to manage the department and provide centralised support services and capacity building. It coordinates statistical production among organs of state in line with the purpose of official statistics and statistical principles. The programme contributes to two strategic objectives: leading the development and coordination of statistical in the South African National Statistics System (SANSS) and improving productivity and service delivery.

Programme 1,there were no targets scheduled for quarter 1 and 100% of targets scheduled for quarter 2 were achieved in2020/21 financial year.

 

  1. Programme 2: Economic Statistics

The Economics Statistics programme produces economic statistics to inform evidence-based economic development and transformation in line with internationally recognised practices. Programme Management for Economic Statistics provides strategic direction and leadership.

Programme 2 hadduring first quarter 2020/21 financial year, achieved 69, 6% of quarterly targets and 30,4% has been delayed.In thesecond quarter 2020/2021 financial year, programme 2had 100% of targets scheduled for achieved.

 

 

  1. Programme 3: Population and Social Statistics

The purpose of the programme is to produce population, demographic, labour market and social statistics to meet user requirements in line with internationally recognised practices. Population and social statistics inform evidence-based socio-economic development and transformation in line with internationally recognised practices. Programme 3 contributes to strategic objectives in an effort to expand the statistical information base by increasing its depth, breadth and geographic spread for evidence-based planning, monitoring and decision-making for the use by both the public and private sector.

Programme 3 had as scheduled during first quarter 2020/21 financial year; 44,4% of quarterly targets achieved and 55,6% had been delayed.In the second quarter 2020/21 financial year, programme 3has achieved 62,5% of quarterly targets and 36,5% were delayed..

 

  1. Programme 4: Methodology, Standards and Research

The purpose of the programme is to set standards, statistical frames, methodologies and conduct statistical research. The main objective of the programme is to improve the quality and methodological soundness of statistical information by researching, developing, reviewing and applying statistical methods, standards, classification and procedures in the statistical value chain annually. The programme further monitors and evaluates the methodological compliance of statistical operations by conducting independent evaluations on statistical practices annually. In addition, it ensures complete and accurate sampling frames to enhance the quality of economic and social statistics by maintaining and updating frames for business and geographic information annually.

Programme 4,there were no targets scheduled for first and second quarter 2020/21 financial year.

 

  1. Programme 5: Statistical Support and Informatics

This programme aims to enable service delivery programmes by using technology in the production and use of official statistics. The main objective is to modernise business processes by building enterprise architecture and applying emerging technologies for data collection, processing and the dissemination of statistical information over the medium term. The programme further aims to enable the Department’s production of official statistics by providing a technology infrastructure that is reliable, sustainable and cost effective over the medium term.

Programme 5, there were no targets scheduled for first and second quarter 2020/21 financial year.

 

  1. Programme 6: Statistical Operations and provincial Coordination

The purpose of the programme is to collect and process data and interact with stakeholders and users at provincial and local levels to inform policy implementation and support decision-making through statistical information. Engaging stakeholders through platforms and provide effective communication services is also a function of the programme. The main objective is to provide integrated data collection services, and disseminate quality statistics to provincial and local stakeholders and the public by ensuring an average response rate of 85 per cent annually. Expanding the statistical information base for use by government, the private sector and the public by conducting a population census every 10 years, and largeā€scale population surveys every 5 years between censuses, remains the focus.

Programme 6, there were no targets scheduled for first and second quarter 2020/21 financial year.

 

  1. Programme 7: South African National Statistics System

The purpose of the programme is to develop and coordinate the national system in South Africa. The objective of the programme is to ensure that national statistics are produced based on common statistical standards and principles by providing statistical support and advice on an ongoing basis, and annually certifying statistics as official. It also manages the distribution of statistical information by establishing and providing mechanisms, platforms and criteria for sharing data annually. The programme drives statistical reporting by coordinating the compilation of statistical reports in line with the integrated indicator framework annually.

Programme 7,there were no targets scheduled for first and second quarter 2020/21 financial year.

 

  1. FINDINGS AND OBSERVATIONS

The Portfolio Committee made the following observations and findings:

  1. The Committee notes and welcomed first and second quarter performance of 2020/21 financial year of Statistics South Africa. The Committee notes the impact of COVID-19 on the performance of Stats SA as most of the work requires field work for data collection and capacity constraints.

 

  1. The Committee continued to raise concerns ofthe high vacancy rateof Stats SA as a result of budget cuts and high turnover due to inability to retain staff as well as lack of prospects for promotion in the department. Stats SA continues to lose critical skills with plethora of experience particular in Programme 7 South African National Staticstics System.

 

  1. The Committee advised the Department to speedily fill all critical posts with additional budget of R45 million the National Treasury funds allocated for compensation of employees during the 2020/21 financial year.

 

  1. The Committee stressed the long-standing issue of the budget shortfall of Statistics South Africa and its ability to execute its function well in producing statistics for the Country. The Statistician-General assured the Committee that Stats SA will continue to produce basic statistics for the country, even confronted by budget shortfalls and a worldwide pandemic. The Committee reiterated the importance of the National Treasury in briefing the Committee on the budget cuts of Statistics South Africa.

 

  1. The Committee encouraged Statistics South Africa to formulate a plan and achieve the delayed quarterly targets before the end of the financial year.  

 

  1. The Committee urges Stats SA to provide detailed spending on the procurement of the Personal Protective Equipments bought for employees.

The Portfolio Committee recommends as follows:

5.1       That the House adopts and approve first and second quarter performance report for 2020/21 financial year of the Budget Vote 12 of Statistics South Africa

 

Report to be considered

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