MPs want oversight over national budget

Harare North legislator, Norman Markham, says Parliament should have oversight on the country’s budget and finances.

Markham said as legislators they were concerned with the government’s overspending outside budget without consulting Parliament, a situation he says undermines the legislature’s oversight role.

Finance and Economic Development Minister, Mthuli Ncube, presented ZWL$ 927.3 billion 2022 budget last month and outlined the expenditure for the current year.

Debating the 2022 national budget and 2021 budget allocations in the august house recently, Markham said the Parliament should have oversight on the budget and finances of the country.

“My main concern is the issue of oversight, Madam Speaker,” said Markham.

“As Parliament, we are supposed to have oversight on the budget and the finances of the country. My issue is, if we look at the budget allocations, up to nine months, agriculture has spent 171%, finance 135%, energy 131% for example. These are repetitive offenders. It is not the first budget that these people have spent more than they were allocated without the minister either advising us or bringing it to us.”

Markham said he was worried that while some ministries and departments had overspent others only received less than half of their allocations.

“How can National Housing at this stage only have 17.5 percent of the Budget allocated to them, the Lands Commission 27% and Parliament only got 33%?” he queried.

“With the issues of corruption that we have, we only receive 33%. My issue is, not one of these ministries have changed in the last three years as being – what I call repetitive offenders for overspending. My question is; what is the point of us all sitting here and arguing about allocations of budget as part of our oversight if it is not followed anyway?”

He further said: “I do understand particularly with Ministries like Agriculture that there are changes depending on seasons but why are we not informed before? Sadly, we cannot have oversight after the event. That is why the various acts give us 60 days to correct the wrong doing and in many cases it is not corrected. My issue on our Budget is, I believe and I am very concerned because we are always short of money in the last two or three years versus what we budgeted that our revenue must be obviously overstated.”

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