Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Patrick Matibini says Parliament should be able to detect and prevent abuse of public resources.

Speaking when he officially opened the seminar for parliamentarians on the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP)at Parliament building today, Speaker Matibini said Parliament was supposed to hold government accountable for the way tax payer’s money was used.

“Parliament is able to detect and prevent abuse or wastage of public resources, prevent or halt arbitrary behaviour or illegal and unconstitutional conduct on the part of the government and public agencies. In this way, parliamentary oversight also helps to uphold the rule of law and protect the rights of citizens. These functions also entail holding the government to account in respect of how taxpayers’ money is used. It must be noted that it is the duty of parliament to oversee all government operations or to act as a watchdog on behalf of the people that the parliamentarians represent,” Speaker Matibini said.

He said parliament acts as the voice of the people, through which the people contribute to the governance discourse of their country.

“I need not to remind you Honorable members, that parliaments worldwide play a critical role in the democratic process. They act as a nexus or meeting point for the governors and governed, who are represented by their elected officials. In other words, parliament acts as the voice of the people, through which the people contribute to their governance discourse of their country through their oversight function, Parliaments shed light on the operations of government by providing a public forum at which the policies and actions of government are debated, scrutinised, and subjected to public opinion,” Speaker Matibini said.

He said parliament was a key stakeholder and partner in the 7NDP as it would enable them to effectively play their legislative, representative and oversight roles in the development process.

And acting Clerk of the National Assembly Cecilia Mbewe said the 7NDP was aimed at contributing towards the attainment of the long-term objectives outlined in the vision 2030 of making Zambia a prosperous middle-income country.