UNDP Asists Union & Zanzibar Parliamentarians to Review 2013-2014 Budget
Strengthening the capacity of Members of the National Assembly to oversee the Union budget, and of the Members of the Zanzibar House of Representatives to oversee the Zanzibar budget is a key objective of the $ 7 million basket fund UNDP Legislatures Support Project. Managed by the Clerks of each House, with the support of parliamentary staff and international UNDP technical advisors, the project aims to help build the skills and experience of Members to analyze, question, monitor and evaluate budget plans and public spending over the financial year (July to June).
This year the government of Tanzania changed the budget making cycle to enable a longer, earlier period for parliamentary review. Supported by the project, Members of Parliaments have eagerly taken advantage of this, examining, questioning and proposing alternative spending priorities and plans in a more engaged, active and fully informed way than ever before. This includes both Government and Opposition Members in the National Assembly, and Members from both parts of the unity (no Opposition) parliament in Zanzibar.
Through project assistance, the recent involvement of 31 Government officials with Members of the National Assembly to present and clarify different government policies (tax base, Private-Public Partnerships, anti-corruption, budget details), contributed to more effective functioning of Committees, and contributed to MPs ability to oversee the budget, Government, and improved the quantity of Questions in parliament.
In Zanzibar in June, the UNDP project hosted a pre-budget seminar for Members and Principal Secretaries (as accounting officers for ministries, departments and agencies), and relevant House staff (Committee Clerks, Researchers).
The main objective of the seminar was to enhance Members’ capacity to analyze the budget, including through a gender lens ahead of 2013/2014 budget discussions which commenced on Monday 17 June. With facilitation from the State University of Zanzibar and the Ministry of Finance, key budget priorities and the macro-economic environment were fully reviewed.
This activity is closely related to the work in progress towards the establishment of a House Budget Office, and potentially streamlining the Committee system to include a Budget Committee.
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