D-DAY, PARLIAMENT Orders Ministers to explain overspending
The Speaker of the Transitional National Legislature, (TNLA) Anthony Lino Makana has ordered all Ministers to appear in Parliament today (15th August) to answer questions from members of parliament on how they spent their money in the last financial year.
“The issue of budget is very important and to clarify expenditures, all the Ministers must come and if there are some who will miss they must explain why,” Anthony Lino Makana said.
The Speaker also expressed disappointment over poor attendance of the budget process by the Members of Cabinet.
He said the Cabinet must respect the parliament. “I will not allow the parliament to be disrespected by the executives. We are independent, we are not a rubber stamp,” Makana said.
This comes after MP Deng Tiel raised a motion during discussion of the budget in the second reading, asking for the adjournment of the deliberation after most of the Members of Parliament demanded the Minister of Finance and others to explain why they spent more than what was approved in the last financial year.
Dr. David Nailo Mayo, the Chairperson of the Specialized Committee of Economics and Finance reported that several Ministries, including that of Finance, Foreign affairs and International Corporation, and the Office of the President spent well over the approved budgets.
The Ministers will also answer questions on why they need more money when they have not been reporting back to the parliament their achievements.
Several Ministries and spending agencies demanded for an additional 22 billion South Sudanese Pounds on top of the over 46 billion that the Minister of Finance and Planning, Stephen Dhieu Dau had proposed.
One MP who only identified himself as Majak said over spending by those Ministries is a violation of the Appropriation Act of 2016/2017.
“This deprives other Ministries from their resources. When the budget is passed, the Appropriation Act must be respected,” he said.
Majak said the right procedure for Ministries to get extra funds is through the supplementary budget, which they did not follow. “Why did they do that? It is wrong to get additional funds without approval by the parliament,” he said.
MP Mary Nawai argued that every year the parliament approves budgets but the Ministries never reported back to the parliament about their achievements.
“There has never been accountability, those who have over spent I don’t know if the parliament asked them what they spent the money for,” she said.
Reacting on the additional money the ministries want to be added, MP Dr. Benjamin Malek Alier said if all the requests for additional funds are accepted, he does not know where the government will get the money since there is already economic difficulties in the country.
“We have to consider how much we are generating and we should spend what we produce,” he said.
He added that over spending agencies of the government should be punished because they have violated the Financial Appropriation Act.
For MP Henry Omai, addition of the new funds that amount to almost half the proposed budget is impossible.
James Magok, a member of Council of States said the Ministers should explain whether they were not around during the appropriation of the new budget to justify why they want additional funds.
The Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Bashir Gbandi who tried to defend the executive said the members of parliament should consider that the budget was prepared in a difficult situation.
“It is upon all the arms of the government to address budget issues and they have to corporate for it to move ahead,” he said.