Bill Watch Parliamentary Committees Series 40-2015

BILL WATCH

PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEES SERIES 40/2015

[29th November 2015]

Post-Budget Committee Meetings

[Parliament has Adjourned until 15th December]

Following its usual practice both Houses of Parliament have adjourned following the presentation of a National Budget Statement by the Minister of Finance.

This adjournment is supposed to allow time for the National Assembly’s Portfolio Committees to meet with the Ministries they supervise to hear their reactions to the Budget.  After hearing feedback [usually complaints] about Budget allocations] each committee is then supposed to prepare a report on the implications of the Budget for its Ministry/Ministries, and the report is presented to the National Assembly when debate on the Budget resumes.

Before the Minister of Finance and Economic Development’s presentation of the 2016 National Budget Statement last Thursday, 26th November, the Speaker announced a change to this year’s post-Budget programme which will not allow much time for this usual practice.   

He explained the changes by referring to accommodation difficulties occasioned by ICASA [the18th International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa] which runs until Friday 4th December.  Not mentioned, but perhaps also a factor, is the forthcoming two-day State visit by the President of the Peoples Republic of China, scheduled for the middle of this week and of course the ZANU-PF Annual Conference the following week.

In place of the usual programme that was outlined in Bill Watch 54/2015, the programme will now be as follows:

The Revised Post-Budget Programme

The revised programme announced by the Speaker is as follows:

Post-Budget Seminar for MPs

Tuesday 8th December  

Portfolio Committee Consultative Meetings

Monday 14th and Tuesday morning 15th December [detailed schedule of meeting times and venues still to be notified by Parliament]  

Both Houses of Parliament Resume Sitting

Tuesday afternoon 15th December

Budget Debate in National Assembly

Wednesday 16th December.

It seems an impossible task for the Portfolio Committees to meet with the relevant Ministries, hear their views and compile reports before the Budget Debate in the short space of time this programme allows.

Opportunity for Public Representations to Portfolio Committees

The meetings with Ministries are all closed meetings so there can be no oral representations, but stakeholders and members of the public can submit written representations on the budget proposals to the various portfolio committees ahead of their consultative meetings.

by email – addressed to clerk@parlzim.gov.zw [marked for attention of the appropriate Portfolio Committee] or

delivered – at the Kwame Nkrumah Avenue entrance to Parliament, between Second and Third Streets, Harare, and addressed to The Clerk of Parliament [marked for attention of the appropriate Portfolio Committee]

sent by post – addressed to The Clerk of Parliament, P.O. Box CY298 Causeway, Harare [marked for attention of the appropriate Portfolio Committee].

Budget documents Available from Veritas

The following documents were tabled by the Minister at the conclusion of his Budget Presentation. 

Estimates of Expenditure for the year ending 31st December 2016

2016 National Budget Statement [full version]

“Departmental Draft” of the Finance Bill [i.e., the Ministry’s draft of a Bill to give effect to changes to taxation laws proposed in the Budget Statement – this draft will be replaced by the final legal draft that will be presented at the end of the Budget debate]

Supplementary Estimates of Expenditure for 2015 [the current financial year] to cover inescapable additional expenditure not budgeted for in the original 2015 Estimates, i.e., to cover situations where, to quote this document, “the original estimate has proved inadequate” .

[available at the addresses given immediately below]

 

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