By Chipo Musoko, HARARE, May 8 (The Source) – The European Union has urged Zimbabwe’s Parliament to police the Treasury to ensure effective use of scarce financial resources as the country battles economic challenges.
Speaking at the launch of a $4,7 million multi-donor support programme to assist Parliament, head of the EU delegation to Zimbabwe, Philippe Van Damme, said there was need to support the legislature to carry out its mandate of oversight, representation and lawmaking.
“At a time when the nation is facing economic challenges, it is extremely important that Parliament has oversight on the public treasury to ensure that the scarce resources are being utilised for their appropriate purposes and in a frugal manner,” he said.
EU has contributed 1,8 million Euro to the programme which will be implemented by the United Nations Development Programme and Parliament of Zimbabwe.
The programme, which runs until 2018, also seeks to strengthen Parliament’s oversight role through helping build the capacity of parliamentary committees in research, analysis and scrutiny of ministries, commissions and parastatals.
Van Damme said the programmes, which also include a 500,000 Euro grant to promote public involvement in parliamentary business, will also contribute to the Zimbabwe Reconstruction Fund (ZIMREF), a World Bank managed trust fund, to support the government’s economic governance reform programme, including Public Finance Management and Public Sector Management reform.
Parliament and the Audit General office will also benefit from ZIMREF, he said.
He said the multi-donor support programme will also ensure that the Auditor General’s office sets up efficient and effective operating systems enabling it to produce timely audited financial reports for tabling in Parliament.
On the International Monetary Fund staff monitored programme (SMP) – an informal agreement between a government and IMF staff to monitor the implementation of member states’ economic reforms – Van Damme said some additional legislative work was expected this year, including amendments to the Public Finance Management Act, Public Procurement Act and clarification of the indigenization law to enhance public accountability.
Speaker of the House of Assembly Jacob Mudenda commended the donors for the support, saying that resource constraints hampered the work of Parliament.
“It is becoming increasingly difficult for developing democracies, particularly in Africa, to meet the financial resources required for effective oversight and scrutiny of government performance,” Mudenda said.