National Council, the upper chamber of the country’s bicameral Parliament, was allocated a total budget of N$88.4 million for the 2021-22 financial year, marking a reduction of about N$12.9 from the previous financial year.
Motivating the budget in Parliament on Tuesday, Speaker of the National Assembly Peter Katjavivi said the amount is to cover the operational activities of the National Council during the 2021-22 financial year.
He said from the N$88.4 million, N$8.9 million is earmarked for strengthening capacity of the review and oversight function of the National Council.
“The National Council will embark on policy formulation, review of the Standing Rules and Orders, the Chairperson’s Outreach Programme, and strengthening relations with regional councils,” Katjavivi said.
Katjavivi said N$28 million is earmarked for coordination of parliamentary support services to ensure proper budget execution and financial accountability, among others.
He said N$51.5 million is allocated to parliamentary committee services, which, according to him, are the workhorses of the House because most of the detailed examination and scrutiny of government programmes, as outlined in the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), takes place in committees.
“It is important that council members are prepared for this critical legislative function in the first year of their parliamentary career. In this regard, capacity building interventions will focus on laying a solid knowledge base to enable members to review legislation and execute oversight work optimally,” Katjavivi said.
Highlighting the National Council achievements, Katjavivi said, during the previous financial year, the National council reviewed seven bills, of which five were passed without amendments and two with amendments.
The said bills, according to him, were the Appropriation Bill, Gaming and Entertainment Control Amendment Bill, Communication Amendment Bill, Post and Telecommunications Companies Establishment Amendment Bill, Control of the Import and Export of Dairy Products and Dairy Product Substitutes Bill, Financial Institutions and Markets Bill as well as the Appropriation Amendment Bill.
He said the council further considered and debated several reports that dealt with oversight work implemented by the council committees, such as the visit to correctional facilities at selected prisons and capital projects by the standing committee on security, constitutional and legal affairs.
The MPs also considered and debated reports of the auditor general of regional councils and local authorities for various financial years by the Standing Committee on Public Accounts and Economy.
Moreover, the committee obtained feedback on land servicing, human-wildlife conflict and the provision of potable water in rural areas, drought relief funds and the green scheme irrigation projects.