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Revisit budget cycle for effectiveness - CAG

3rd June 2012
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As the public waits for the government to unveil the new budget in Parliament, the Controller and Auditor General Ludovick Utouh has repeated his cry, calling for review of the budget process in the country.

Utouh said basically the country’s budget is unrealistic; bearing in mind that while budget processes in Parliament begins early June and ends in August, the new financial year starts officially in July.

This is the second time the CAG hints on the same budgetary anomaly as it would be remembered that in April he made the same remarks when releasing the audited financial statement for the central government that ended June 30, 2011.

He said it has been a practice that the public debate for authorization of the budget by Parliament is conducted during mid-June to August while the Appropriation Act comes into force on July 1.

“This implies that the execution of the budget starts by mid September each year and thus in the period between July 1 and mid September important government activities particularly development are not “conducted due to lack of approved budget,” he said.

He said one of the key elements in enforcing accountability was on the implementation of the budget and the processes involved in the budget approval and implementation involves deliberations by budget officers at the Treasury.

It is also conducted in respective ministries, departments, agencies and the National Assembly after the same has been reviewed by respective sectoral committees, hence public debate and authorization.

After the authorization process, budget execution follows whereby actual revenue collections and service delivery take place,while execution of the budget is about the collection and accounting for revenue, provision of services through the recurrent budget and implementation of development projects.

Speaking during an accountability conference on the performance audit in the public sector held for three days in Dar es Salaam recently, CAG Utouh said there was need to reconsider the pattern of discussing the government budget.

He said by approving the budget first then followed by individual votes it makes the budget process a rubber stamp.

SOURCE: GUARDIAN ON SUNDAY
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