Swapo backbencher Modestus Amutse has asked parliament to consider approval of each fiscal year’s estimates by March – not only to align new budget approvals with the end of each fiscal year but also to fast-track programme implementation and improve service delivery.
Motivating his motion in parliament on Thursday, Amutse said debates on estimates usually tabled in parliament in February each year, stretch up to the end of April before approval.
He said such estimates are referred to the National Council for review in May when National Assembly is in recess – and if National Council recommends amendments, such consideration by parliament will take place only after recess in June.
This, he said, delays the allocation of funds to government institutions to implement programmes and national development initiatives.
The Swapo MP’s view is that immediately after the midterm review, the ministry of finance should include parliamentary standing committees in budget consultations for input to limit lengthy interventions when the main budget is tabled in parliament.
He attests that the proposed arrangement would enable the two houses of parliament to finalise the budget by end of March when the fiscal year ends.
Article 126 of the Namibian Constitution, which deals with appropriation matters, requires that the minister of finance present to parliament at least once a year an estimate of revenue and expenditure as the basis for the appropriations bill.
Discussion on the motion is expected to continue when parliament resumes next week.