The National Assembly has announced the formation of a parliamentary budget tracking committee to make continuous follow up on how the government spends the funds allocated by the legislature.
The announcement comes in the wake of accusations against the government over embezzlement, misappropriation and individual thefts of public funds allocated by Parliament for various purposes.
Speaker Anna Makinda made this announcement at the opening of a training session for chairpersons for various parliamentary committees and their deputies which started in Dar es Salaam yesterday.
She said the parliamentary secretariat had decided to add a Budget Committee to closely make follow ups of budget implementation in various ministerial departments and agencies.
The Speaker noted that for long MPs have placed great weight on details of the budget and failed to give its implementation the same weight, to advise the government on what to do ensure the budget is effectively used as planned, although they have responsibility of doing that.
‘We basically agreed to have a budget office which will facilitate Parliament to effectively participate in the government budget process and in its implementation,’ she said.
“It’s time now that we have to seek standards for our budget system. We shall start by looking at where we came from, making an evaluation of the current budget system if it is a progressive one. We are supposed to use experience to change the budget system and make it cope with the current environment,” she further stated.
She told MPs to use their role in advising the government on the best way to expand the revenue base, as currently there are few tax payers in country but the number of people who need services is big.
In that small number of taxpayer most of them fall in the category of pay as you earn, she further noted. She also announced the formation of the Government Advisory Committee which will specifically advise the government on how to increase revenue, saying that the committee was starting its work immediately.
Makinda said the purpose of doing that is to have a system which is compatible with the current system but also reconcile with the tasks of the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) and the work of parliamentary committees on various public finance sectors.
Ludovic Utouh, the Controller and Auditor General, told the MPs in the training funded by the African Development Bank (AFDB), that the training will build capacity for MPs in preparing the budget.
It will also help them to make sure that the budget is well utilized and improved because the current situation shows that budget revenues do not relate with the population.
The CAG said for a long time budget implementation was not proceeding well, hindering the development of some sectors, in which case the government needs to take action immediately and not wait until it faces a crisis.
Public Accounting Committee (PAC) chairperson John Cheyo said the MPs’ job was to approve the budget and there were no one to make follow ups on its implementation.
The Budget Tracking Committee which is used by different countries will help to ensure the proper utilization of the budget.
“We normally use ten minutes in the House to discuss revenue, but we spend three months to discuss expenditures, therefore having such a committee will help us have both sides of the discussion,” he said.
Having such committee it will help MPs to know how the budget approved for a particular ministry is being used, in which case the misuse of funds leads to a diminished budget in the next exercise, he added.