The Treasury’s decision to cut Statistics SA’s budget by 13% has been described as irrational, regressive and a threat to investor confidence at a time when it is most needed. The department reduced Stats SA’s budget by R400m to R2.1bn in May, leaving the institution with no choice but to compromise its staffing requirements. Stats SA will have to give up some of its field operations, the crux of data collection for some of the research they are required to produce. The institution has also placed a moratorium on recruitment since September 2016, including for critical vacancies. "We are faced with a very untenable, difficult situation." Stats SA said. Statistician-general Pali Lehohla said the 8% vacancy rate would probably increase as some workers, whose experience was irreplaceable, resigned. Business Day understands that workers at the department are anxious about possible retrenchments. Parliament’s portfolio committee on public service and administration, performance, monitori...

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