Members of the National Council are threatening to reject next year’s national budget if its funds is not increased saying insufficient allocation is currently undermining the powers of the NC in holding executives accountable and carrying out other equally important mandates.
The MPs state that the National Assembly often refers budgets and bills to the chamber for further deliberation before approving, a procedure that many has emphasised, saying that it warrants the budget of the NC to be increased for it to serve the nation and its mandate fully. National Unity Democratic Organisation (Nudo)’s Peter Kazongominja says the National Council did not come about by its own but it was rather via the constitution that it came into existent. Hence they feel they should be involved in setting up the budget and not be excluded with all parties in agreement . “The appropriation bill is a joke, and it is an insult to these house as it undermines the work that we do”, Kazongominja laments.
Paulus Mbangu says before blaming the Minister of Finance Iipumbu Shiima, they should start with themselves as year in, year out, the NC MPs have been approving the appropriation bill knowing the limited funds allocated to them. He warns that come next year they will reject the bill and not approve it should the budgetary allocations to the NC continue s to be cut. He laments that this is very undermining to a body that is equally important in passing bills, and making decisions underscoring reasons why the NC is toothless in holding people accountable, citing lack of funds as one of its major hurtles. Further stating that the appropriation bill process ought to include all parties, and the NC cannot be left out as it is a reviewing and recommendatory body, which holds high powers in approving and passing of bills.
Mbangu says that consultations must be done before drafting the bill, where everybody is some body and in agreement, but not for Cabinet to be the only ones that does it, as this is the reason why the budget often gets so much “ stick” from the masses and parliamentarians A notion that is also echoed by some opposition parliamentarians in the National Assembly.