Legislative Budget Oversight and Public Finance Management
This Programme is a direct response to the fact that Parliament’s 'power of the purse' is a fundamental feature of democracy. This is because the vast majority of democratic constitutions require appropriations and taxation measures to be approved by Parliament. Furthermore, Parliament must ensure that the revenue and spending measures it authorizes are fiscally sound and that they match the needs of the population with available resources. It is also Parliament’s constitutional responsibility to ensure that revenue and expenditure measures are implemented properly and efficiently.
The introduction of Parliamentary Reforms has witnessed increased budgetary activism by Parliaments in Southern Africa. Subsequent democratization and constitutional changes have also opened up possibilities for legislative participation in the budget oversight process and public finance management. This development notwithstanding, Parliaments in SADC face several obstacles, both political and technical in their endeavour to play an effective role in the budget process.
SADC Parliamentary Forum views legislative budget oversight as a key component of the oversight role of Parliaments. Its interventions seek to enhance the role of Parliament and its Committees throughout the budget process, that is, drafting, approval, implementation and audit. The involvement of Parliamentary Committees in the budget process is vital given that Committees are the ‘engine room’ for Parliamentary oversight work.
The Legislative Budget Oversight and Public Finance Management Programme has the following among its strategic objectives:
- Benchmarking in terms of legislation, policy and practice;
- Enhancing the domestication of benchmarks through networking and sharing of experiences and good practices among Parliaments and Parliamentarians;
- Enhancing independent Parliamentary budget research capacity;
- Expanding the role of Parliament and its Committees in the budget process;
- Promoting collaboration of Parliaments with development partners, CSOs and the Media; and
- Broadening access to information on the budget.