Opposition MPs grill Matambo on budget ‘bungle’

In the line of fire: Matambo presenting the 2015/ 16 budget recently. PIC: TSELE TSEBETSANE
In the line of fire: Matambo presenting the 2015/ 16 budget recently. PIC: TSELE TSEBETSANE

Opposition Members of Parliament are expected to grill Finance and Development Planning minister, Kenneth Matambo, for allegedly making adjustments to the 2015/16 budget after it was officially approved by the National Assembly.

Gaborone Central legislator, Phenyo Butale had been due to put the question to Matambo yesterday but the Speaker stopped him after drawing attention to parliamentary procedure which demands that the minister be given time to formulate his response. Now Butale and fellow MPs will have their take today. Opposition legislators say Matambo un-procedurally shaved one percent of the ministerial allocations approved by parliamentarians recently.

Butale confirmed to Mmegi yesterday that he would move a question without notice to seek clarity on the matter from Matambo.  Butale’s question reads: “To ask the Minister of Finance and Development Planning to explain recent reports of a decision by Cabinet to reduce budgetary allocations to all ministries by 1 percent.  “The minister should further explain when the decision was arrived at; before or after the budget was presented to Parliament.”

The Speaker, Gladys Kokorwe intervened yesterday to stop the question from being asked, citing a Standing Order. “I discussed with the Speaker who brought me to that Standing Order attention. The Standing Order says parliamentarians should give ministers adequate time,” he said.

Recently, Matambo pushed through a P36.7 billion recurrent and P12.9 billion development budget for the 2015/16 financial year, which starts in April.

At the time, legislators were criticised for failing to effectively debate the budget, with few comments from the floor and general silence on the numbers proposed by Matambo.

Legislators had attended a pre-budget training workshop ahead of Matambo’s February 2 budget speech.

Editor's Comment
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