The Budget and Expenditure Monitoring Forum (BEMF) hosted a two-day workshop before the Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan tabled the 2013 Medium Term Budget Policy Statement in Parliament. Under the theme “Reflections on the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement : How Do We Know If There is Enough Money to Provide For Delivery of Services?” numerous civil society organisations and representatives from organised labour, Parliament, the Auditor General’s office and academia came together to develop a deeper understanding of Government’s future medium term spending plans for 2014 – 2016. The workshop was opened by a presentation on what the National Development Plan (NDP) envisions for public service delivery and the implications of the NDP goals for the allocation of resources. An overview of South Africa’s macro-economic policy was provided illustrating the political choices made by Government to raise money for the delivery of services while promoting economic growth and curbing public debt. The workshop then turned to an assessment of the adequacy of the Education and Health budgets and analysis of the Social Development budgets for funding of Children’s Act services. The workshop also provided participants with an opportunity to be updated on the role of the Parliamentary Budget Office and the critical role that Parliament can and should be playing in exercising oversight of the Executive’s budget policy proposals. On the last day of the workshop participants were given an opportunity to hear about various budget and expenditure monitoring methodologies ranging from social audits to citizen journalism. A 2014 steering committee was established to guide the activities of the forum into 2014.
The presentations given at the meeting are attached below.