The Estimates of National Expenditure (ENE) publications describe in detail the planned spending in all national government votes over the three-year medium-term expenditure framework (MTEF) period, government’s expenditure planning window. An abridged publication is available together with more detailed e-publications.
The ENE abridged publication is tabled in Parliament by the Minister of Finance alongside the main budget. The publication is the explanatory memorandum to the Appropriation Bill. The executive tables the bill and accompanying publication seeking Parliament’s approval and adoption of government’s spending plans for the first year of the MTEF period.
Generally, a vote specifies the total amount of money appropriated to a national government department. A national government vote is generally synonymous with a national government department. However, in certain instances, a vote may contain more than one national government department. For instance, the Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs vote contains two departments, the Department of Cooperative Governance and the Department of Traditional Affairs.
The ENE publications include information on how government institutions have spent their budgets in previous years, and how they intend to use their allocations over the medium term to achieve their goals, including the outputs and outcomes spending is expected to lead to.
The publications include tables depicting non-financial performance indicators and targets, departmental receipts, and detailed expenditure trends and estimates.
A more in-depth narrative analyses the institution’s expected expenditure over the MTEF period. A summary table is included at the end of the chapter for votes in which there is significant spending on infrastructure. In addition, the e-publications contain programme personnel data tables, a brief summary for all entities, as well as additional summary data tables on provincial and municipal conditional grants, public-private partnerships, donor funding, and expenditure at the level of service delivery, where applicable.
The dataset emanates from the yearly national government budget process. At the beginning of each budget process, the National Treasury publishes guidelines depicting the information that governmental institutions are expected to submit to the National Treasury in their budget submissions. A vital part of this process involves the large number of public institutions planning, negotiating and deciding collectively how to spend public resources.
As the budget process is focused on institutional performance in relation to government outcomes, it is organised by function of government. The trade-offs of financing different policy objectives within the constraints of the expenditure ceiling are examined, culminating in recommendations on how institutional policies and practices, and arrangements, can be adapted to best achieve the function’s outcomes.
These function group discussions shape the allocations to specific government institutions. The recommendations from each function group are then presented to the ministers’ committee on the budget technical committee (MTEC), a committee comprising the directors-general of central national government departments. Once this part of the process has been finalised, the recommendations endorsed by MTEC are taken to the ministers’ committee on the budget. This committee then reviews the recommendations put forward in respect of the different function groups and ultimately considers the trade-offs and priorities for government as a whole. The recommendations of the ministers’ committee on the budget are then tabled in Cabinet.
Once Cabinet has approved the recommendations, all institutions are informed of their budget allocations. Institutions then finalise their budgets accordingly and prepare and submit their data and narrative inputs for the ENE publications to the National Treasury. National Treasury then verifies and edits these inputs to produce the ENE publications. The ENE is published in a number of formats (including in print and as an Excel pivot table). The ENE is tabled in Parliament annually as part of the national budget.
The ENE is released as part of the national budget information releases, at the end of February, before the start of the national/provincial budget cycle. The data and supporting documents are useful for:
Vulekamali has annual ENE information for all national departments. The following are available for each department:
The detail pages for a department can be found under the Department Budgets link at the top of the website. You can also search vulekamali to find a department.
Note: The 2018 Budget vote for Basic Education (Vote 14) is used as an illustrative example for this section. It can be found by visiting the Basic Education budget page for 2018.
All the ENE documents (PDF, Excel, and CSV) include expenditure data using the following classifications:
Expenditure over time: The budget data is presented over a seven-year period: three years of past expenditure, the current financial year and three years of projected expenditure. The three-year future budget refers to the next three years and is known as the medium-term expenditure framework (MTEF).
For example, the 2018 ENE documents include the audited budget outcomes for the 2014/15, 2015/16, and 2016/17 financial years, the revised estimates for the 2017/18 financial year, and initial estimates for the 2018/19, 2019/20, and 2020/21 financial years.
Expenditure by economic classification: This refers to the economic characteristics of the expenditure, including whether the expenditure happens directly in a national department, transferred to another sphere of government or to another party.
There are up to four levels of economic classification for each expenditure item (i.e. Levels 1 to 4), with higher levels representing greater degrees of granularity. The Excel and CSV documents include all four levels while the PDF documents display the first two levels.
The level 1 economic classification divides all expenditure into four main economic sections: current payments (payments made for operational requirements such as those for compensation of employees and goods and services); transfers and subsidies; payments for capital assets (assets that can be used for more than one year); and payments for financial assets (loans or equity investments in public corporations).
Expenditure by programme and sub-programme: This refers to expenditure by department programmes, which align spending to activities, performance indicators and outcomes. Each programme has a particular purpose and spending objectives. Spending can be tracked to the programme and sub-programme level.
Expenditure by government function: This aligns expenditure to one of seven government function groups. These groups can include spending across many government institutions, departments, and spheres. The function groups are also allocated to sections of the National Development Plan and medium-term strategic framework (MTSF) outcomes.
For example, expenditure on Basic Education falls within the Learning and Culture function group, Chapters 3 and 9 of the NDP, and Outcome 5 of the MTSF. The Learning and Culture function group includes the Departments of Higher Education and Training, Sport and Recreation, and Art and Culture. It also includes the SETAs, NSFAS, and the National Skills Fund.
Each department’s PDF chapter can be found on Vulekamali on the department detail page. The PDF contains narrative information and summary tables of key expenditure items over the MTEF in the following sections:
Excel versions of the tables included in the ENE PDF document can be found in Vulekamali’s department page for each department.
The Excel spreadsheets are not machine-readable as the columns have not been formatted for building pivot tables. They do however allow the user to further edit the data and to perform simple calculations. They also provide some additional detailed information that is not included in either the PDF documents or the CSV data file.
The spreadsheets include the following tables from the PDF documents:
In addition, they include tables for the following:
The CSV data file contains the raw data used to produce the ENE and expenditure tables and the Appropriation Bill. This file can imported into Excel or other analysis programmes for further analysis. The file contains the following fields