Parliament to establish budget committee
Parliament is contemplating establishing a budget committee through which Offices, Ministries or Agencies of the State will submit their strategic plans, capital programs, budget estimates and priorities before the beginning of every financial year. National Assembly Chief Liaison Officer David Nahogandja told the Economist Thursday that the creation of the committee will ensure that MPs familiarise themselves with budget documents at committee level before they are presented in Parliament. He added that through this process, Offices, Ministries and Agencies will be expected to justify their requests.
Nahogandja, however, did not say when the new committee will be established.
The Official Opening of the Ninth Session of the Fifth Parliament will take place on Tuesday 11 February under the theme: “Promoting oversight effectiveness towards ensuring transparent national budget administration.” Nahogandja said this year’s theme was derived from Parliament’s oversight and accountability role. He said: “Parliament is responsible for playing key role in delivering upon democratic governance through ensuring transparency and accountability from the Government. Democratic governance requires that a government be capable, accountable, participatory and responsive.
“Parliamentary oversight contributes immensely to this requirement by playing the crucial role of effectively monitoring and reviewing the legislative, policy and fiscal administration by the government on behalf of the citizenry. With regard to fiscal oversight, acting upon the national budget is the appropriate channel through which recommendations resulting from the parliaments’ budgetary oversight function can be effectively implemented. For this to be achieved however, parliament’s oversight of the budget process has to be fully effective or, strengthened by the support of the Public Accounts Committee or the creation of the Budget committee/Office.”
This year’s budget is expected to be presented to Parliament around 17 February, a week earlier than last year.