By Anna Chibamu
HOUSE of Assembly Speaker Jacob Mudenda has advised MPs to challenge line ministries and push for the government departments to allocated part of their funds in developmental projects in communities.
Speaking at the 2021 post-budget seminar in Harare this week, Mudenda told guests who included MPs, economists and business people it was the role of Parliament to ensure economic growth was achieved in the country.
However, to achieve this, he said there was need for the MPs to monitor and evaluate the budgetary projects and programmes carried by line ministries and other government departments.
Last week Thursday, finance minister Mthuli Ncube announced a $421.6 billion 2021 national budget.
“Need I not remind all our parliamentary committees to work beyond the call of duty to effectively demand from line ministries tangible execution of the budgetary allocations through a religious monitoring and evaluation of the budget’s development projects and programmes which must demonstrate the utilitarian value for money,” said Mudenda.
He said MPs cannot fail the citizens through their failure to implement the 2021 budget.
“We owe our institutional existence to the people of Zimbabwe. After all the budget’s revenues devolve on the people’s taxes. We cannot afford to short-change them by our failure to lose credence in the implementation of the 2021 national budget.
“It is the responsibility of all Members of Parliament to be apostolic about propagating a citizen’s budget so that it becomes more apparent to the citizenry as to how the 2021 budget can achieve integrated development.
“In that way, our fellow citizens can be able to visibly see and smell development as a lived experience. I urge all our parliamentary committees to reach out into the hinterland in order to ascertain how our national budget has practically been transformative of the people’s lives over there.
“The time is over for parliamentary committees to be perambulating in and around urban centres when conducting oversight public hearings,” added Mudenda.
He castigated parliamentary committees’ public hearings for lacking positive interaction as the MPs only came for 30 minutes to hear the people’s views and immediately leave.
“Have more time with the people or around projects you are visiting in order to fully appreciate how the budgetary allocations are being expended on the ground.
“As you go to report back to the people, carry with you the citizens’ budget so that the citizenry can fully appreciate the strategic intent of the national budget.
“In that way, Parliament will naturally gain the public trust through the assurance that their input to the budget formulation has been taken on board seriously. That public trust is a bold dividend which should never be betrayed by Parliament inadvertently,” he explained.