Concern Universal (CU) recently drilled Members of Parliament (MPs), councillors and other public officers in budget tracking at both local and national levels.
CU national advocacy and learning coordinator Mona Lisa Bandawe said in an interview the orientation was part of her organisation’s enhancing quality and inclusive public services (Equips) project being implemented in Ntcheu and Dedza.
Under the project—being funded by Tilitonse—CU wants to strengthen citizen’s voice in achieving more inclusive, accountable and responsive service delivery.
“We want duty-bearers to be accountable to people. But how can they effectively account to people if we do not equip them with oversight and budget tracking skills?
“Budgets are drawn from strategic plans. As such, a budget should be a financial mirror of a strategic plan,” she said.
Bandawe said when tracking budgets, MPs and councillors should be asking such questions as: Does a strategic plan list the most pressing socioeconomic needs of people? Or, does a budget reflect priorities in the strategic plan?
She said in executing national budgets, governments aim to achieve three basic goals—fiscal discipline, strategic allocation of resources and good operational management.
Ntcheu district commissioner Charles Makanga thanked CU for providing funds for the training.
“The aim of the orientation was to orient MPs, councillors, chiefs and members of council secretariat on their responsibilities and roles to avoid conflicts,” he said.
During the training, deputy director of Local Government Douglas Mkwete took leaders through procedures of conducting council meetings.