9th ParliamentTreasury

What is a budget consultation and why it is important

By James Martin

The 2019 financial year has not been rosy for the Zimbabwean people after the country’s pseudo currency; the bond note drastically lost its value against the most preferred United States Dollar.

Treasury and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) introduced several policy changes to bail the country’s economy but to no avail.

As the 2019 financial year approaches its end, Parliament’s focus has turned to the 2020 financial year planning. The planning involves what is called a pre-budget consultation process. For one to understand the pre-budget consultation process, at first one needs to understand what a budget is.

A budget is an approximation or an estimation of revenue or income and expenses or costs expected over a specified forthcoming period. Budget can be made at government, individual, family, business and organisation levels.

So, a pre-budget means a process whereby Parliamentarians organise their constituencies to afford them a chance to put forward their proposals on yearly national resources allocation.

It is also a process whereby the citizenry gets an opportunity to ask relevant authorities on the performance of the previous budget. What was allocated to what for what and how much was released for what?

OpenParlyZW spoke to several legislators to further understand what pre-budget consultation process is.

Marondera Central legislator Caston Mateu who is also a member of the Parliament’s Public Accounts  Committee said he understands a pre-budget consultation process as a way of holding public meetings in sequence with concerned players to have a say before the final national budget is compiled.

“Pre-budget consultations are a series of meetings with various stakeholders who are directly or indirectly affected by the budget appropriated by the government.

“This includes consulting various ministries on how much allocation they want and also consulting the general public about which areas the government should put more money on.

“This is important to ensure that whatever the final budget is, there have been input and a broader discussion by all stakeholders,” he said.

Norton legislator Temba Mliswa said pre-budget consultation process takes into account additions and subtractions on the national budget guided by Public Finance Management Act.

Honourable Innocent Gonese who represents Mutare Central concurred with Mliswa adding that the constitution is the guiding principle in the pre-budget consultation process.

Gonese said: “pre budget-consultations are part of Parliament’s engagement with the public as is provided for in terms of Section 141 of the Constitution which requires Parliament to facilitate public involvement in its processes.

“It is important because it enables the people to make inputs and contributions on what they want in the Budget.”

Parliament will be holding public hearings on the 2020 national budget starting on the 23rd to the 27th of September at various places across the country.

Two teams from the committee will hold meetings at the places listed in the following tables:

Team A

Date Place Venue Starting
Time
Monday 23 September Kariba Nyamunga Hall 10.00 am
Tuesday 24 September Shamva Shamva Council Hall 10.00 am
Wednesday 25 September Uzumba Mutawatawa Community Hall 10.00 am
Thursday 26 September Chipinge Gaza Hall 10.00 am
Friday 27 September Harare Parliament Building Senate Chamber 10.00 am

 

Team B

Date Place Venue Starting
Time
Monday 23 September Masvingo Masvingo Civic Centre 10.00 am
Tuesday 24 September Plumtree TMB Hall 10.00 am
Bulawayo Small City Hall 2.00 pm
Wednesday 25 September Lupane Lupane Community Hall 10.00 am
Thursday 26 September Victoria
Falls
Kingdom Hotel 10.00 am
Friday 27 September Kwekwe Kwekwe Theatre 10.00 am
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Daniel Chigundu

Daniel Chigundu is a male journalist in Zimbabwe and has been practising since September 2009. He used to the editor for The Business Connect (newspaper) in Harare, has his own news website Tourism Focus which is biased towards the tourism sector. Daniel is also working with Magamba Network on their project called Open Parliament where they do live coverage of Parliamentary activities on Twitter and Facebook. He is currently the secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Parliamentary Journalists Forum, is a member of Zimbabwe Small Broadcasters Association and a board member of Digital Communication Network. He holds a Diploma in Communication and Journalism from the Christian College of Southern Africa (CCOSA), a certificate in Youth leadership training from the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), a certificate in Citizen Journalism from Magamba Network and is currently a first-year student at Zimbabwe Open University studying for a Bachelor of Arts Honours in Ethics and Organisational Leadership.

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