MPs to scrutinise Budget

via MPs to scrutinise Budget January 11, 2014 by Veneranda Langa NewsDay

PARLIAMENT business is set to resume next week with legislators expected to analyse the 2014 National Budget and interrogate the various allocations to line ministries ahead of the January 31 deadline.

Although the post-Budget seminars will begin on Monday, the Finance Bill to operationalise the Budget are expected to be passed when the Houses of Parliament resumes sitting on January 21.

In an interview with NewsDay, chairman of the Budget and Finance Portfolio Committee David Chapfika said it was important to interrogate and analyse the Budget so that legislators could then go and give feedback to their constituencies.

“It would have been ideal to do post-Budget analysis of the 2014 National Budget soon after its presentation by Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa, but MPs also needed to be given time to go through the document before analysing it,” Chapfika said.

“Parliament is currently engaging development partners to see if they can finance meetings where the Budget and Finance Committee can meet different stakeholders for post-Budget analysis meetings,” he said.

Committee member and Kambuzuma MP Willias Madzimure (MDC-T) said it was obvious Parliament was going to fast-track passage of the Bills to operationalise the 2014 Budget in order to meet the January 31 deadline to pass the Budget as dictated by the Constitution.

“Ruling party MPs will obviously have to be whipped to ensure the Budget passes through because there is no longer time for delays and the Budget has to be passed by January 31. Any delays will be going against the Constitution and we face a situation whereby delays will cause unbudgeted for expenditure,” Madzimure said.

He said ideally, his committee should have consulted widely on post-Budget issues before meeting different government ministries to discuss the allocations.

“The people’s views are important as well as meeting different ministries for input. If the Budget had been presented in November, it would have given even more time to the minister to consult all stakeholders including the committee because a Budget should be sustainable and not consumptive. The processes that are being followed are just fast-tracked.”