The Speaker of the National Assembly, Nelly Mutti, has called upon Members of Parliament (MPs) to acquaint themselves with the reformed national budgeting system, emphasizing the transition from activity-based to output-based budgeting in recent years. Ms. Mutti highlighted this significant shift, which has been facilitated through the enactment of the National Planning and Budgeting Act of 2020.
Addressing MPs during a social sector analysis training workshop, Speaker Mutti stressed the importance of sector-specific budget analysis as a means to strengthen Parliament’s role in the budget approval process. She emphasized that this approach would allow for a more comprehensive understanding of budget allocations across various sectors.
Furthermore, Speaker Mutti noted that the transition process included a pilot exercise in 2022 involving two parliamentary committees: the Committee on Agriculture, Lands, and Natural Resources and the Committee on Energy, Water, Development, and Tourism. This pilot phase, she explained, is set to continue as part of the scrutiny process for the 2024 budget estimates, with an additional five committees to be included.
United Nations Resident Coordinator, Beatrice Mutali, expressed her satisfaction with the Zambian government’s commitment to expanding the social sector budget, particularly in areas such as health, education, and social protection. This reflects a positive development toward addressing critical social issues in the country.
Meanwhile, Herrick Mpuku, Executive Director of the Zambia Institute for Policy Analysis and Research (ZIPAR), highlighted the pivotal role of Parliament in economic management. He stressed that MPs play a crucial part in the development and approval of the national budget, as well as in closely monitoring and controlling government expenditure. Dr. Mpuku emphasized the necessity of equipping MPs with the tools and knowledge required to scrutinize the national budget effectively, ensuring a balanced approach between expenditure and revenue.
As Zambia continues to refine its budgeting system and enhance parliamentary oversight, these developments are expected to contribute to more effective governance and resource allocation, ultimately benefitting the nation’s citizens.