Swapo backbencher Elifas Dingara has thrown his weight behind the establishment of a parliamentary budget committee, urging fellow MPs to agree to the “draft terms of reference” and the establishment of the committee.
Parliament is contemplating establishing a budget committee through which offices, ministries or agencies of the state will submit their strategic plans, capital programmes, budget estimates and priorities before the beginning of every financial year.
The select committee shall also review all aspects of the planning, budgeting and financing of all activities of the August House.
Dingara told MPs that the establishment of the committee is in line with best parliamentary practices globally.
“Many legislatures globally have establishments like the budget office and budget committees,” Dingara said, adding that such structures will ensure that parliament is adequately served in terms of finances and ensure prudent spending thereof.
“It also helps parliament to meet its expectations required in terms of its mandate and what the electorate expects by the provision of efficient and effective oversight functions,” he said.
The Swapo parliamentarian said, as MPs, they often find themselves during the debate of the appropriation bill bemoaning the lack of adequate funding for the National Assembly.
“The creation of this committee will allow us as a team to play an integral part in the planning of our programmes, prioritise and ensure successful implementation thereof,” he stressed.
He also used the opportunity to assure fellow MPs that the committee is not being created to increase already existing bureaucracy or bottlenecks in the execution of fiscal responsibilities of the August House but to improve the legislature’s budget planning processes and the execution thereof.
“This will also ensure that parliamentary standing committees are adequately provided for. Through effective budgeting and implementation, we could provide timeous oversight function and thereby eliminate poverty and inequality, which are the key objectives of the national development plans,” he said.
He said the committee will also seek to strengthen the effectiveness, cohesion, accountability and capacities of the system to better support MPs and the secretariat and to help Namibia to accelerate progress in the implementation of the nation’s objectives.