Members of Parliament yesterday failed to pass the estimates for the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives due to lack of quorum of legislators.
The Parliamentary Standing Orders want the passing or endorsement of budget or any other resolution/motion to be made in the presence of at least half of the total number of members of Parliament.
In yesterday’s incident, Singida East MP and Opposition Chief Whip Tundu Lissu sounded the alarm when the House assumed the role of Expenditure Committee, saying there was no way the budget could be passed by Parliament due to lack of quorum.
Deputy Speaker Job Ndugai partly agreed with Lissu but decided to carry on with the process while trying to buy time hoping some MPs would return to the debating chamber to boost the number of MPs.
Signs of failure of the quorum requirement were clear early yesterday as seats of most CCM MPs and ministers were empty.
Other MPs who wanted the final stage of the budget endorsement to be suspended due to the lack of quorum include James Mbatia (Nominated-NCCR Mageuzi) and Felix Mkosamali (Muhambwe-NCCR Mageuzi).
The Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (Policy, Coordination and Parliamentary Affairs) William Lukuvi was seen moving around the Parliament building trying to summon MPs to enter the debating chamber but in vain.
However, until the final stage of the parliamentary process of passing the budget the quorum had not been reached, compelling the deputy speaker to adjourn the process until tomorrow.
The current total number of MPs stands at 352 but until the time when deputy speaker adjourned the process not more than 120 MPs were in the debating chamber.
Ndugai later told the House that such a situation was contributed by the absence of 18 MPs and those MPs sent by the Bunge Office to Zanzibar after the tragedy involving MV Skagit.
He also told the House that a delegation of MPs had been dispatched to Longido Constituency to attend the funeral of MP Lekule Laiza’s mother.
About two weeks ago Speaker Anne Makinda warned MPs against disappearing, especially when weekends approached. In her caution the Speaker said such a practice would one day block the budget from being passed, which did not take long to be observed.