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Hon. Members of International Legislatures
Hon. Members of County Assemblies
Representatives of Parliamentary Budget Offices from the African continent and from the United Kingdom and Canada
Representatives of international multi-lateral organisations
House Chairpersons
Committee Chairpersons
Members of Parliament
Members of Provincial Legislatures
Delegates

It is a pleasure to welcome you to the 3rd African Network Conference of Parliamentary Budget Offices, a truly unique platform for Budget Offices to share experiences and knowledge. The 3rd PBO conference will build on the foundation laid by the 1st and 2nd Conferences.

We are happy to host you in the mother city, Cape Town. This year at the conference we have delegates from 7 African countries joining representatives from ten different non-governmental organisations and non-African Parliamentary Budget Offices, and representatives from our own Provincial Legislatures. Many of you travelled from abroad, from other continents, from Africa and long distances within the country, which serves to remind us how important it is for us to create a better and safer Africa in a better world. Other delegates include Parliamentary Committee Chairpersons, Members of Parliament and staff. Thank you for coming.

The aim of the African Agenda for 2063 is to stimulate and unite Africans around a common vision. The Parliament of South African is committed to be part of the transformation and to contribute to sustainable development. It is, therefore, one of the many reasons that we are hosting this conference.

With this in mind I want to come back to the main aim of this conference. It is for information sharing among countries. In particular, African countries that already have Parliamentary Budget Offices and to create a platform to serve as a resource centre for those that still contemplate setting up a Parliamentary Budget Office.

We are satisfied with the impact that our Parliamentary Budget Office has made since its inception in 2013. We will share our experiences with the setting up of our Parliamentary Budget Office and the successful implementation of the Office’s Legislative mandate. But, we also want to learn from our esteemed guests from the African continent and beyond.

Not to pre-empt the deliberations, but to make you aware of how serious South Africa is to build a strong democracy: The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa that was promulgated in 1996 required that an Act of Parliament must provide for a procedure to amend money Bills before Parliament. In 2009 the Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act was promulgated to give effect to the requirements of the Constitution. The objective of this Act is to provide for procedure to amend money bills before Parliament and for norms and standards for amending money bills before provincial legislatures and related matters. The Act also provides for the oversight function of the finance and appropriations committees.

Colleagues, just to give you an overview of what this oversight function entails and why we established the South African Parliamentary Budget Office: Subsequent to the introduction of the budget, including the fiscal framework, the Division of Revenue Bill, the Appropriation Bill and tax and other revenue proposals, the fiscal framework and revenue proposals are referred to the committees on finance who are required to hold joint public hearings. This provision gives effect to the constitutional right to participate in the budget process. The process of referral, consideration, hearings, comments from the Minister if amendments are proposed to the fiscal framework, reporting and adoption by the respective Houses must be done within 16 days after the introduction of the fiscal framework.

After the adoption of the fiscal framework, the Division of Revenue Bill and the Appropriation Bill are referred to the Committee on Appropriations of the Assembly to follow the legislative procedure as set out in the Constitution.

In considering these Bills the respective committees must also conduct public hearings, consult with other parliamentary committees, and allow affected members of Cabinet, provinces and local governments to respond to the proposed amendments, as provided for in the rules.

Revenue Bills, such as taxation Bills, are referred to the Committee on Finance of the National Assembly and, after approval, to the National Council of Provinces for consideration by its Committee on Finance.

The Act also provides for the procedure to amend the adjustments budget, which is introduced at the beginning of the second semester of the financial year. The adjustments budget includes the adjustments appropriation Bill, a revised fiscal framework if the adjustments budget effects changes to the fiscal framework and a division of revenue amendment Bill if the adjustments budget effects changes to the Division of Revenue Act for the relevant financial year.

The referral of these instruments follow the same sequence as the budget process, namely, the revised fiscal framework to a joint sitting of the committees on finance; the division of revenue amendment Bill to a joint sitting of the committees on appropriations after the adoption of the revised fiscal framework; and, in the event of a revised fiscal framework, an adjustment appropriation Bill to the Committee on Appropriations of the National Assembly only after the Division of Revenue Amendment Bill is passed by Parliament. Now you can see why we included Section 15 of the Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act that establishes the Parliamentary Budget Office.

The role of the Parliamentary Budget Office is to provide independent, objective and professional advice and analyses to Parliament on matters related to the budget and other money bills (all of which has been indicated above). The Office must support the implementation of the Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act by undertaking research and analysis for the Finance and Appropriations committees in both houses of Parliament. And indeed, this is what the Office is doing and many more initiatives, such as the analysis on the implementation of the National Development Plan, are making an impact on Parliament’s oversight role in transformation.

With this I want to welcome you again and we are looking forward to all the deliberations over the next 2 days. Prepare yourself to be motivated and stimulated.

Thank you.

ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA
Enquiries: Moloto Mothapo 082 370 6930