The Budget and Finance Committee—an oversight grouping of parliamentarians on budgeting—has explained that the interval in the sitting of the House is meant to allow various oversight parliamentary committees to scrutinise budget estimates relevant to them.
Committee chairperson Rhino Chiphiko told Nation on Sunday on Thursday that it is imperative for the House to break into a cluster of committees after the budget estimates have been unveiled so that allocations made to their relevant sectors should be thoroughly scrutinised.
“What is happening now is that each committee is looking at the literature and figures pertaining to its work. This includes summoning officials from those sectors to explain or fill in information,” said Chiphiko.
He said from Monday next week, the committee will consolidate all the information and make recommendations to the House.
“The only challenge we have as Budget and Finance Committee is that we are not empowered by the rules to have our recommendations effected,” he lamented.
Chiphiko added that under the present legislative practice, the total figure of the budget estimates cannot be changed.
“You can move around the allocations, but you cannot change the total figure. This is what sometimes makes one wonder whether what we are doing is effective in the real sense,” he added.
After Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe presented the budget estimates to the House, Speaker Richard Msowoya announced that the plenary would be suspended until Wednesday when official responses would be made from the opposition.