European Union Ambassador to Zambia Alessandro Mariani says Zambia’s economic recovery program calls for increased levels of accountability and transparency.
Speaking during the launch of the Public Finance Management handbook at Parliament building in Lusaka today, Ambassador Mariani said the recovery program needed credible budget minimising variations.
“As honorable Minister of Finance indicated in the budget speech presented on September 29, 2017, the Zambian economic recovery program calls for increased levels of accountability and transparency. This recovery needs credible budget minimising variations that will ensure a stable economic framework which will be conducive to private sector investments, sustainable growth and policy consistency,” Ambassador Mariani said.
He noted that effective, efficient and transparent use of public resources was a crucial element for promoting sustainable growth and development in all countries, including Zambia.
“Zambian people through their members of parliament, have indeed the right to know how the taxes they pay are allocated and invested by government. As European Union with the support of the National Assembly of Zambia intends to enhance the capacity of the members so that they can fulfill this specific role in the most effective possible way,” Ambassador Mariani said.
The Ambassador further urged the members of parliament to analyse, appreciate and question the macro-economic framework instead of just accepting or rejecting the budget.
“Members of parliament should be able to do more than just accept and reject the budget. They should be in the position to analyse, appreciate and question the macro-economic framework, the sectorial allocations, the consistency between the allocations and related policy issues at sectorial level and the intended results having the possibility to focus not just on the inputs but also on the expected outcomes and results,” said Ambassador Mariani.
Meanwhile, Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Patrick Matibini said enhancing parliament’s public financial management oversight was not only meant to fulfill the constitutional mandate of holding the executive to account, but to also ensuring that the resources of the state were used to improve the lives of people.
Speaker Matibini said in order to enhance efficiency in the consideration of compliance audit report of the Auditor General, the National Assembly had three committees that would be considering the report.
“We have now three committees that will be considering the Auditor General’s report. First, the Public Accounts Committee will continue to consider audit reports on the account of the republic and other specialised reports. Second, the committee on parastatal bodies will be responsible for scrutinising audit reports on state-owned enterprises and other statutory bodies. Third, the committee on local government account will be responsible for scrutinising accounts of local authorities,” said Speaker Matibini, who encouraged members of parliament to utilise the handbook.