Government clarifies role of Presidential Fiscal Committee

Government wishes to clarify the role of the Presidential Fiscal Committee (PFC) which has been mentioned in the public discourse.

The decision to establish the Presidential Fiscal Committee was taken in September 2017 at the meeting of the Extended Cabinet attended by Ministers, Premiers and Finance MECs, an annual meeting that the President convenes to discuss the Budget ahead of the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement. (MTBPS). The committee was mandated to work with the National Treasury and other stakeholders to help find creative ways of meeting the country’s fiscal targets and resolving competing priorities.

In particular, the PFC has been tasked with considering the proposals prepared by the National Treasury to bring the public finances back onto a sustainable path. It is mandated to make recommendations and to provide advice on spending priorities which may be considered. The Minister of Finance is the lead Minister in the PFC. The committee is accountable to the Cabinet.

The allocation of resources to the country’s priorities is limited by a constrained fiscal space taking into account the difficult economic climate, with high debt levels and lower revenue. The budget is a key statement of policy of the government which is underpinned by an open and accountable process through which choices have to be made about competing priorities.

The Minister of Communications, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane said: The advisory role of the Presidential Fiscal Committee does not in any way interfere with the institutional arrangements of the budget cycle, which is the strength of our democracy. Various intergovernmental forums exist at both the executive and official level to give effect to this constitutional imperative. The budget process allows for stakeholder participation and coordination with the various spheres of Government. The majority of South Africans rely on the services provided by government in order to live a dignified life. These services are sustained by the greater part of government expenditure which goes to social services, on education, healthcare, water, housing, public transport and social protection.

Government is committed to managing the economy in a balanced and responsible manner. Investors are reassured of the macroeconomic certainty and stability that they have become accustomed too. Spending has been reprioritised to reduce immediate pressure, and to create the time required to build capacity to boost investment spending. Government has taken decisive steps to stabilise SOE’s so that they contribute more meaningfully towards growing our economy.

Government is working closely with various stakeholders to address regulatory challenges, build an inclusive economy and improve business confidence. We are implementing the Medium-term Strategic Framework 2014-2019 which outlines the country’s priorities and has detailed implementation plans towards the National Development Plan (NDP), Vision 2030. Actions including addressing infrastructure bottlenecks, improve policy coordination, making it easier to do business, improving labour relations and encouraging private investment, added Kubayi-Ngubane.

Government remains committed to a measured path of fiscal consolidation that contains the budget deficit and stabilises public debt.

Source: Government of South Africa