Dr Tonderai Kapesa urges Parliament to play oversight role on national budget

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Writes Lloyd Rabaya
The Parliament of Zimbabwe has been urged to play its oversight role on the national budget to ensure that no one is left behind during the budget implementation process.
The deliberations were made during a mid-term budget review dialogue workshop held in Harare last week by the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) together with the Advocacy Core Team (ACT).
The workshop was meant to conscientize relevant Parliamentary Portfolio Committees (PPCs), like the one on Budget formulation processes, and recommend possible measures for any existing gaps in the process.
In his address, Dr. Tonderai Kapesa highlighted that according to Section 299 (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, Parliament has the power to,” monitor and oversee expenditure, by the State, commissions, institutions, and agencies of government at every level, including statutory bodies, government-controlled entities, provincial and metropolitan councils, and local authorities,” to ensure that all revenue is accounted for, among other functions.
Dr Kapesa also noted that the Minister of Finance, through the relevant portfolio committee, should seek the views of the Parliament before the appropriate committee conducts public hearings to get the opinions of various stakeholders, according to the Public Finance Management Act (Chapter 22:19) Section 28(5).
He also urged Parliament to consult previous Budget Strategy Papers (BSPs) for a better review to know measures to implement going forward.
Chairperson of the PPC on Budget, Finance, and Investment Promotion, Honorable Clemence Chiduwa, acknowledged that they did not make a comparison of the previous BSP and the implemented budget and highlighted that it is of importance to scrutinize such.
“I think this is an area where we need to look at because we will end up coming up with a BSP just to meet the constitutional requirements. We need to interrogate if we are in line with the BSP priorities as we review the mid-term fiscal position. We did not take note of aligning the performance of the budget vis-à-vis the provisions of the BSP,” he acknowledged.