Re­vived MPs hope to in­flu­ence sen­si­ble bud­get for the coun­try

Swazi Observer - - NATIONAL NEWS - Sto­ries by Mbono Md­luli

MEM­BERS of Par­lia­ment (MPs) hope to in­flu­ence a sen­si­ble bud­get for the coun­try from now on­wards.

The glim­mer of hope from the leg­is­la­tors comes af­ter un­der­go­ing a work­shop where they were taught on the im­por­tance of proper budgeting for any coun­try, es­pe­cially in times of eco­nomic or fi­nan­cial cri­sis.

The work­shop started on Mon­day and it is ex­pected to end to­day at Esi­bayeni Lodge in Mat­sapha.

The work­shop was aimed at ed­u­cat­ing MPs who are mem­bers of the fi­nance ses­sional com­mit­tee in the House of As­sem­bly.

The work­shop is fa­cil­i­tated by Ster­ling Afrika Train­ing and Con­sul­tancy, which is one of the rep­utable or­gan­i­sa­tions in mat­ters con­cern­ing busi­ness and fi­nance man­age­ment.

The lo­cal MPs were par­tic­i­pat­ing with their coun­ter­parts from Uganda in the work­shop.

The Ugan­dan MPs are said to have a long work­ing re­la­tion­ship with Ster­ling Afrika, a com­pany based in Pretoria, South Africa. The fa­cil­i­ta­tor was Austin Bo­la­timi, who is a Cameroo­nian na­tional, but based in Pretoria.

The theme of the work­shop is: “Pri­ori­tis­ing pub­lic sec­tor bud­get and re­source al­lo­ca­tion in hard eco­nomic times.”

Lo­cal MPs are rep­re­sented by Mang­con­gco MP Patrick Pha Motsa, Ludze­ludze MP Bam­bu­muti Sit­hole, Nh­lam­beni MP Frans Dlamini, and Dvokod­vweni MP Musa Sitezi Dlamini.

About 13 leg­is­la­tors from Uganda are part of the work­shop.

Motsa and Sit­hole have ex­pressed hope the coun­try would im­prove now that they had taken part in this work­shop. Sit­hole said he be­lieved the work­shop would now en­able him to help the min­is­ter for fi­nance to come up with a sen­si­ble bud­get for the coun­try. Sit­hole nar­rated that the work­shop gave them more in­sight into the over­sight role that should be played by the MPs in en­sur­ing the Cab­i­net bud­geted to de­velop the coun­try. “I am op­ti­mistic that from now, Par­lia­ment will now have in­formed MPs in bud­get mat­ters and things will never be the same from now. We have seen that we have to practice pro­gramme budgeting, in­stead of in­come-ori­ented budgeting,” Sit­hole said.

When asked to clar­ify be­tween the two, the Ludze­ludze law­maker said the pro­gramme-cen­tred bud­get was fo­cused on putting up a bud­get that would fi­nance de­vel­op­men­tal needs of a coun­try. An in­come-cen­tred bud­get only fo­cused on bal­ance be­tween in­come and ex­pen­di­ture. The MP also learned that at times, it was good for a coun­try to bud­get for a deficit, only if that deficit was aimed at de­vel­op­ing the coun­try, not just to in­crease salaries of civil ser­vants and politi­cians. Motsa, who is the chair­per­son of the ses­sional com­mit­tee, said there were many things he learned from the work­shop so far.

He said he now un­der­stood why budgeting was al­ways cen­tralised. That, ac­cord­ing to the MP, was in­formed by the fi­nances col­lected by the state in­sti­tu­tions, like the Swazi­land Rev­enue Author­ity (SRA). The govern­ment work­ers who de­ter­mined the bud­get also had ac­cess to the fi­nan­cial per­for­mance of govern­ment, so they would al­ways be able to plan bud­gets with the avail­able re­sources.

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