Monthly Archives: November 2016

SOUTH AFRICA RECORDS BIGGEST IMPROVEMENTS IN SCIENCE AND MATHS

Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga says the department is very pleased with the consistent improvements achieved by South Africa seen in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS).

This independent study gives an encouraging account of how we measure up in a widely recognized international testing programme aimed largely at assessing whether countries are making progress in education over time, she said when the results of the 2015 study were released here Tuesday.

She said the TIMSS 2015 study revealed a steady upward trajectory of South Africa’s education sector among 59 countries covered in TIMSS 2015.The study shows that South Africa has made the biggest improvement of any education system in the world since participating in the study.

TIMSS performance from 2003 to 2015 shows that there was a significant improvement (by South Africa) of 87 points for Mathematics and 90 points for Science, more than for any other country with comparable data,” she added.

Our participation in internationally bench-marked studies provides valuable and credible information that can disentangle post-truth politics and affirm the upward trajectory in the sector evidenced by improving Mathematics and Science skills; better schooling conditions; and decreasing inequality in education communities.”

She said large-scale assessment programmes such as TIMSS offered a reliable independent measure to monitor the performance of learners in key subject areas in order to assess the health of the education system.

The improved TIMSS scores should also be viewed in context of concentrated efforts and support provided in the senior phase. Historically, this phase has been a challenge for the sector, explained the Minister.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

SOUTH AFRICA’S TAX REVENUE RISE 8.5 PCT TO 1.07 TRILLION RAND

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) and the National Treasury have released the 2015/2016 tax statistics which show that tax revenue collection grew by 8.5 per cent to reach 1.07 trillion Rand (about 76.38 billion US dollars).

Tax revenue collection for 2015/16 amounted to 1,070 billion Rand, growing by 83.7 billion Rand (8.5 per cent) relative to 2014/15, said the Treasury and SARS in a joint statement here Tuesday.

According to the statistics revenue, growth was mainly supported by personal income tax which grew by 35.4 billion Rand. The cost of revenue collection ratio decreased from 0.97 per cent in 2014/15 to 0.96 per cent, well within the international benchmark of 1.0 per cent.

The 2016 tax statistics provide an overview of tax revenue collection and tax return information for the 2011/12 to 2015/16 fiscal years, and the 2012 to 2015 tax years respectively.

The statistics present comprehensive tax revenue data to complement and contextualise economic and demographic data provided by other statistical agencies. The tax statistics also provide valuable insights into socio-economic trends.

The tax statistics also showed that VAT (value added tax) remained the second largest contributor to total tax revenue for 2015/16, totalling 281.1 billion Rand.

At 18.1 per cent of total tax revenues, company income tax (CIT) was the third largest contributor to total tax revenue in 2015/16. Its contribution has decreased significantly, however, from a peak of 26.7 per cent achieved in 2008/09.

About 25 per cent of the 702,395 companies assessed for the 2015 tax year had positive taxable income.

Meanwhile, Import VAT and Customs Duties, South Africa’s two biggest trade-related taxes, jointly contributed 197 billion Rand to total tax revenue collected in 2015/16. This is in line with contributions in the years following the global financial crisis, with the exception of a 19.5 per cent peak in 2013/14.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

PRESIDENT REFERS FINANCIAL INTELLIGENCE BILL BACK TO SOUTH AFRICAN PARLIAMENT

President Jacob Zuma has referred the Financial Intelligence Centre Amendment (FICA) Bill back to the National Assembly for reconsideration after raising concern with a provision permitting searches without a search warrant.

I have given consideration to the Bill in its entirety and certain submissions regarding the constitutionality of the Bill. After consideration of the Bill and having applied my mind to it, I am of the view that certain provisions of the bill do not pass constitutional muster,” the president said.

In terms of section 79 (1) of the Constitution, I have therefore referred the Bill to the National Assembly for reconsideration for the reasons set out to the Speaker of the National Assembly.”

The President specifically raised concern with the provisions of the Bill relating to searches without a warrant, which according to him, fall short of the constitutional standard required for the provision not to unjustifiably limit the right to privacy.

The President said he was of the view that even though the purpose to be served by the Bill was very important and pressing, all the provisions of the Bill must be in line with the Constitution.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

UNCTAD COMMENDS SOUTH AFRICA FOR BEING LEADER IN INVESTMENT REFORM

South Africa has been commended for being a leader in investment reform by the Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Dr Mukhisa Kutiyi.

Speaking at the Africa Trade Week 2016 currently underway in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Kutiyi praised South Africa for leading the global debate on Investment Policy Reforms. Trade and Industry Minister Rod Davies is leading the South African delegation to the event, which is a new pan-African platform for advancing intra-Africa trade dialogue among mutli-stakeholders.

Dr Kituyi applauded the South African government’s decision to announce a sunset clause to its old stock of investment agreements.

Everybody in the developing community knows that the stock of investment agreements which were signed, particularly in the era of structural adjustment, were too unbalanced, promising the investor everything without obligations and tax-payers carrying all the burdens, he said.

This has required renegotiation/rearrangement and for a long time there have been a lot of foot dragging. So the decision of South Africa to announce a sunset clause to the old stock of investment agreements may sound radical and even very risky, but to the developing community it was an act of leadership which has opened doors that now even the majors are agreed that we must start embracing a new framework for investment agreements.”

Dr Kituyi stated that South Africa helped to create the movement towards the right direction for global investment policy-making.

South Africa was one of the first countries to initiate investment policy reforms that led to a decision to not renew the first generation/old style bilateral investment treaties that were unbalanced. The agreements provided absolute protection to investors while placing no obligations on them.

These bilateral investment treaties were also not clear on the right of governments to regulate in the public interest. South Africa has since developed domestic legislation that provides protection to both local and foreign investors while reaffirming the right to regulate in the public interest.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK