Cape Town - State law advisers yesterday told parliament's portfolio committee on finance that the Public Investment Corporation Bill would not result in a major socioeconomic shift that would require it to be referred to Nedlac, the bargaining council.

Committee chairman Rob Davies said a final decision on whether the bill should go back to Nedlac would be made soon.

The passing of the bill has been delayed by Cosatu's objections to the way in which the bill was drafted and submitted to parliament.

Responding to Cosatu's objections, Otto Kellner, an advocate in the office of the chief state law adviser, said that according to the Nedlac Act the only provision expressly requiring the consideration by Nedlac of legislation prior to its introduction in parliament referred to "all proposed labour legislation relating to labour market policy".

This did not apply to the bill and the only other provision of the act that required legislation to be referred to Nedlac was when it would result in "significant changes to social and economic policy before it was introduced in parliament".

Kellner said the bill, which is aimed at transforming the Public Investment Commissioners (PIC) into a corporation to handle investments on behalf of the government, did not fall under any of these provisions.

Norman Arendse, counsel for the PIC, said Cosatu's argument rested on two misconceptions.

The first was that the new bill would allow the PIC to invest the money provided by its clients, the biggest being the government's Employees Pension Fund, as it wanted to.

This was not the case.

It would require the PIC, as a service provider, to abide by the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act.

The second misconception rested on distinguishing between policy and proposed legislation.