By Daniel Chigundu
Speaker of National Assembly Jacob Mudenda has insisted that the Parliament of Zimbabwe must be allocated US$100 million from the country’s 2018 budget for it to effectively discharge its oversight role.
In 2017 Parliament experienced a lot of financial challenges in trying to effectively hold public meetings across the country and ended up going to a few places.
Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa proposed to allocate about $57.2 million to Parliament for the 2018 financial year.
However, speaking at the post-budget-seminar, Mudenda said the allocation was an insult considering the enormous task that Parliament is enshrined to undertake by the country’s constitution.
“… the paltry US$57.2 million allocated to Parliament from the budget for the 2018 financial year is a serious negation of our thrust to enhance, transparency, accountability and responsiveness as envisaged in the founding values of the constitution,” he said.
Advocate Mudenda said Parliament had budgeted for US$100 million so that it can monitor and fully oversee public finance and expenditure.
“…Parliament had budgeted for a conservative US$100million so that it reaches out in its oversight role, to all the 22 government ministries, all commissions, the 92 local authorities and the 93 parastatals and state-owned enterprises.
“With that meagre US$57.2 million, it will not be possible for Parliament to execute its constitutionally enshrined responsibilities; this has severe implication on the tripartite principles of constitutional democracy, legality and the rule of law,” he said.
According to Section 299 of the constitution, Parliament must monitor and oversee expenditure by the state and all commissions, institutions and agencies of government at every level from top to the lowest including provincial and metropolitan councils and local authorities in order to ensure that (a) all revenue is accounted for (b) all expenditure has been properly incurred and (c) any limits and conditions on appropriations have been observed.
Mudenda added that the work that Parliament is charged with is not a desk exercise and requires adequate funding which must be timeously released and that Parliamentarians must demand it.
“… it’s a mammoth task that requires adequate funding which must be timeously released to Parliament and you as Parliamentarians must demand that after all Section 325.1.b. of the constitutions of Zimbabwe highlights that government must ensure that adequate funds are provided to parliament to enable it and its committees to meet whenever necessary.
“So you have constitutional leverage in making the demand and sometimes we forget about that constitutional leverage, I am appealing to you, therefore, to exercise it in this last lap of our 8th Parliament,” he said.