Over the last few years, the country’s national accounts have come into sharp focus as Batswana become more aware about the country’s financial position. This awareness has developed into concern, a situation worsened by the recent economic downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
This week in Parliament Thapelo Letsholo – chairman of the Parliamentary Finance Committee said that the gradual development budget share cut by the Treasury is problematic.
“Whilst we are informed and appreciate that this time monies will be going back into the Consolidated Fund for re-appropriation, the concern remains, that these are coming out of the Development Budget to fund recurrent expenditure”, Letsholo said.
Letsholo, who was debating the supplementary budget request by the Finance and Economic Development ministry, said that initiatives that encourage accountability should be put in place.
“There is need for Ministries through their respective Accounting Officers to regularly account and report their budget performance to Parliament as this Committee has previously recommended and adopted by this House. This is still not happening and consequently, we find ourselves hamstrung in our ability to proactively decipher areas of concern and advise accordingly”, said the Kanye north legislator.
He further cautioned that as long as there is no accountability the Parliamentary Committee’s budget oversight role will be compromised. He said that the Committee recommends that Accounting Officers respond to observations made and accordingly provide budget performance information to Parliament for the first and second quarter of the current financial year within 60 days of presentation of the Committee’s report.
This past Tuesday the Finance and Economic Development minister – Peggy Serame successfully sought permission from members of parliament to further alter the national budget that was passed by parliament in February following downwards revision in revenue forecasts as economic recovery continues to slow against widening budget deficits.