Parliament: The National Assembly at its House sitting today agreed on the 2019 Appropriation Bill and the Special Appropriation Bill.

Through the Appropriation Bill, Parliament’s two houses, authorize the allocation of money from the National Revenue Fund (NRF) to various state institutions to enable its expenditure. This is done in line with Section 213 of the Constitution and Section 26 of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA), that require Parliament to approve any withdrawal of money from the National Revenue Fund for allocation and expenditure by state organs.

The Bill was tabled by the Minister of Finance Mr Tito Mboweni in Parliament on 20 February 2019 as part of his Budget Speech. The Bill lapsed after the last sitting of the National Assembly of the Fifth Parliament, but was revived in June 2019 following the establishment of the 6th Parliament and the revised cabinet portfolios.

The reconfiguration of cabinet portfolios resulted in the reorganization of government departments, including the establishment of new ones. This necessitated technical modifications of various budget votes and allocations in the Bill tabled in February. The Standing Committee on Appropriations welcomed the technical corrections providing for the reconfigured executive and departments.

Other amendments to the Bill include the Minister of Finance’s authorisation of the R17. 652 billion to Eskom on 2 April, in terms of section 16 (1) of the PFMA, which deals with use of funds in emergency situations.

Section 16(6) of the PFMA requires that expenditure in terms of section 16 (1) must be included either in the next adjustments budget for the financial year in which the expenditure is authorised or in other appropriation legislation tabled in the National Assembly within 120 days of the Minister authorizing the expenditure, whichever comes first.

The Adjustment Appropriation Bill to be tabled in October 2019, would not have met the 120-day deadline and therefore Parliament had to amend the Appropriation Bill to include the special allocation to Eskom.

The 2019 Appropriation Bill will now be sent to the National Council of Provinces for consideration. Currently, the NCOP is finalizing its policy debates on budget votes of government departments � which will culminate with the consideration of the Appropriation Bill once it is sent to it for concurrence.

Source: Parliament of the Republic of South Africa