HomeLocal NewsMPs reject budget fast-track

MPs reject budget fast-track

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Members of Parliament yesterday refused to be hurried into approving Finance minister Tendai Biti’s 2012 National Budget, saying they had until January next year to do so.

They said this during a postbudget seminar held in Harare, meant to capacitate legislators with knowledge of the intricacies of the 2012 National Budget.

Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma announced yesterday while making his opening speech at the post-budget seminar that Parliament was expected to pass the budget by Thursday.

The MPs refused and said they would today move a motion to invoke provisions in the Constitution which allow them to defer passing the budget until January 31.

Chairman of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Investment Promotion Paddy Zhanda said he was going to move that the House adjourn to allow MPs to get enough time to study the budget.

Section 103 (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe stipulates that Parliament’s financial year ends on January 31.

MPs said the fact that they were expected to pass the 2012 National Budget by Thursday this week was a ploy by the Executive to give an impression the latter was superior to Parliament.

“We are not going to rush this budget and say it has to go through because it has to pass through and yet we have up to 31 January to debate it,” said Zhanda.

“The budget must not merely pass through Parliament, but must be passed by Parliament and let us go back to Parliament and tell the Executive that we still have time and we propose we adjourn the House so that we have ample time to look at the budget,” he said.

Zhanda said they also wanted to deal with issues of classification of MPs because they were being treated like civil servants.

“We, Parliamentarians, are being treated like schoolchildren and yet we are the only institution that can call anybody to demand that something must be done in the way things are operating in Zimbabwe.

Let us not be rushed into passing this budget and do more workshops to help us scrutinise it,” he said.

Earlier on, MPs from across the political divide had threatened to disrupt the proceedings demanding payment of their outstanding allowances dating back to 2008.

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