Parliament requires more funds to review laws

Martin Endjala

The allocation of a share of the National Budget to the Ministry of Finance and Public Enterprises is seen as an enabling tool for Parliament to review some of its legislative laws that are deemed outdated or no longer applicable in an era of modernization.

The Speaker of the National Assembly, Peter Katjavivi during his speech in motivating budgetary allocations said that the National Assembly will require a N$182 million budget allocation of which N$167 million is earmarked for its operational needs while N$15 million will be directed towards its development programmes.

Katjavivi said that this will be the first time that Parliament will be revising its laws. He indicated that revised legislation will be table during the June/July parliamentary session, adding that reviewing laws and making amendments costs money because it is a lengthy process which requires capital injection.

The Speaker stated that the review of some of its laws is to ensure that the legislation caters for all parliamentarians who serve in the National Assembly.

He admitted that there indeed have been concerns raised by members of parliament that some of these laws are impeding important motions and bills from fully being tabled.

He noted that the review of these laws will create a more conducive environment for MPs to exercise their legislative duties.

Meanwhile, the Office of the Opposition party was allocated N$2 million, while the legislative management and care and safety for the parliamentarians were allocated N$102 million. A further N$52 million has been allocated to parliamentarians, while N$13 million is allocated for information services to ensure that digitalization is fully catered for. A good example of digitalisation is the recently purchased iPhones for all members of parliament. The legal services sector of the National Assembly received a budget of N$8 million.

Meanwhile, the National Council which was allocated N$91 933 million in the 2022/23 financial year, asked for an additional allocation of N$10 million during the mid-term budget by the Ministry of Finance and Public Enterprise. The additional money caused the 2023/24 budget allocation to increase to N$120 407 million.

The Speaker said that the National Council as the upper house plays a significant role in reviewing and debating bills, and motions, as well as conducting oversight visits.

Katjavivi said that he is pleased to see an improved budget allocation while stressing that the upper house has been very effective in approving bills such as the Combating of Domestic Violence Act, and Public Procurement Policy Act, amongst others.

He, however, maintained that continuous oversight visits by MPs on the ground where legislation and policies are being implemented are vital while engaging communities are an essential aspect of the National Council because it helps with gathering inputs and issues which officials must bring to parliament to address.

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