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Treasury laments 'poor planning' behind spending problems in govt departments

Aug 27 2019 16:33
Lameez Omarjee, Fin24

Spending by government departments has been a mixed bag of overspending and underspending, which Treasury has attributed to poor planning by departments.

Treasury officials on Tuesday briefed the Standing Committee on Appropriations on is spending for the first quarter of the 2019/20 financial year.

So far spending by departments amounted to R201.4bn, or 22.9% from the appropriated amount of R880.7bn. Six departments have underspent by a total of R7bn, while two departments have overspent by R885m.

Briefing the members of Parliament, Treasury's Deputy Director General of Public Finance Dr Mampho Modise said many of the reasons for poor spending relate to late invoicing by the Department of Public Works. In its report Treasury stated there was late invoicing by the department for property payments and municipal charges, as well as disputes on actual invoices received.

Within departments there has been "poor planning in terms of procurement or delays in the planning or execution of capital projects," Modise added. "Most departments have had delays in hiring people – they have taken a while to fill vacant positions.

"Some departments have also shown poor management in terms of contracts [with agents and service providers]."

There have also been "unnecessary" delays in the processing of invoices from service providers, Treasury's report read.

The departments which underspent during the period were:

  • Social development department, which underspent by R1.1bn;
  • Cooperative governance and traditional affairs, which underspent by R658m;
  • Trade and industry, which underspent by R641m;
  • Water and sanitation, which underspent by R589m;
  • Higher education, which underspent by R551m;
  • Agriculture, forestry and fisheries, which underspent by R527m;

The departments which overspent were

  • Human settlements, which overspent by R498m; and
  • Defence and military veterans, which overspent by R387m. 

treasury  |  parliament


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