Internal Affairs

Kavekotora wants resources for Parliament

Summary

Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) leader Mike Kavekotora says the current N.dollars 110 million budgetary allocation to the National Assembly (NA) is insufficient as it mainly caters for operational costs.The NA, he said, needs an additional N.dol…

Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) leader Mike Kavekotora says the current N.dollars 110 million budgetary allocation to the National Assembly (NA) is insufficient as it mainly caters for operational costs.

The NA, he said, needs an additional N.dollars 50 million to execute its oversight function.

Anything below that makes the assembly a laughing stock, Kavekotora said to this agency recently, shortly after an NA session.

He also lamented the fact that at present, only a meagre N.dollars 29 000 is reserved for the nine parliamentary standing committees of the NA.

Among others, the committees exist to conduct investigative or oversight hearings and make recommendations to offices, ministries, agencies and parastatals for the enhancement of their policies, functions and administrative operations.

“This is nonsense. We cannot allow this to happen. We need to do something,” Kavekotora said.

He has several suggestions on how the NA’s budget should be handled and allocated, going into the future.

“The National Assembly’s budget must be a certain percentage of the total budget. This way, even if the national budget fluctuates due to economic reasons, then we don’t have to worry about it,” he said.

According to Kavekotora, since the current national budget is yet to be passed into law, it can still be amended to reflect his suggestions. This has however been received with mixed feelings by some in the assembly.

“They realised that if the budget is amended on the floor, it will create a precedent that future appropriations can be amended on the floor of Parliament,” he said.

The RDP leader continued: “There is nothing wrong with amending an appropriation bill because it is not an act. It is still a bill and if we are not happy, it ought to be amended.”

Kavekotora promised to take the matter a step further to be heard: “As a parliamentarian, I have the right to the chief justice to assign a judge for an opinion on a particular issue and I am going to do that.”

Over the years, opposition leaders have been worried about how the national budget is handled. Most of them have complained about being merely used as rubber stamping agents as opposed to giving serious input on how the country’s resources ought to be allocated.

Some have branded the budget debate in the NA chambers a “waste of time”.

“It does not matter how well our research and contributions are, this budget and others before us are cast in stone, therefore, there is nothing that we say or do that will change this budget,” said Joseph Kauandenge, the National Unity Democratic Organisation lawmaker during one of the budget debates recently.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency