CSPR says the failure by government to introduce the Planning and Budgeting bill to Parliament is a sign of unwillingness to increase transparency and accountability in public finance management.

Speaking during the Civil Society Scale up Nutrition (CSO-SUN) and Civil Society for Poverty Reduction lobby meeting with members of parliament on sustainable diets and the planning and budgeting bill in Lusaka on Thursday, CSPR Programmes Coordinator Eddy Musosa observed that government was reluctant to increase public participation in the management of finances.

“The Civil Society for Poverty Reduction has noted that government had scored well on integrating national development planning with the 2018 National Budget but its failure to introduce the Planning and Budgeting Bill to Parliament since 2014, shows a lack of willingness to increase transparency, accountability and citizenry participation in public finance management. Over the last 3 years, there have been a lot of inconsistencies when engaging the poorest in decision making on matters of service delivery by the government and once the planning and budgeting spaces are legal requirement for government, the overwhelming powers which lie in Cabinet on budgets and plans will be equally distributed among citizens and their representatives. It will also further the performance of the Ward Development Committees and other local government decision making structures,” said Musosa.

Musosa also asked the Ministry of Finance to begin subjecting national budget drafts to massive consultations to get the views of society before it is taken to Parliament for approval.

“We are also appealing to the Ministry of Finance to also be considering special groups of people such as women, the disabled and young people during the consultation process on the budget preparations because that way, the process will be inclusive and MPs also must ensure that the Bill has a provision for increased legislative role in approving the Medium Term Expenditure Frameworks (MTEFs before the Budget is brought to the House,” said Musosa.

Meanwhile, Musosa revealed in a statement today that Keembe UPND member of parliament Princess Kasune asked her fellow MPs to stop voting on party lines for motions which had an effect on the people’s well being.

“Honourable Princess Kasune has raised worry on the continued politicization of the business of Parliament by some MPs even when it borders on the development of most Zambians. Honourable Kasune challenged MPs from both sides of the House to ensure that once the planning and budgeting bill is brought to the House, they should remove their Party jackets and debate the document objectively,” he said.

And Musosa also stated that Lukulu East member of parliament Christopher Kalila regretted that the Planning and Budgeting Bill had been a song for the last 3 years.