By Sifiso Dlamini | 2022-09-22
Lobamba - The House of Assembly yesterday passed the Supplementary Appropriation Bill to redirect funds amounting to E63.3 million for budget support and other government activities.
The appropriated funds will be directed towards procurement of protective gear for the police service, Parliament budget, scholarships and farming subsidies as well as the Micro-Projects Unit.
The legislators also gave the green light to the Minister of Finance, Neal Rijkenberg, to source a loan amounting to about E607.3 million (USD40.49 million).
This was after the House adopted the reports of the finance sessional committee on the Supplementary Appropriation Bill and the report on the African Development Bank (Emergency Food Production Programme) Loan Bill.
The adoption of the reports was motivated by Sessional Committee Chairperson Manzini South MP Thandi Nxumalo, who was seconded by Deputy Speaker, Madala Mhlanga.
Nxumalo said the appropriated funds would be directed towards funding Parliament budget, farming subsidies and scholarships.
She said the ministry of finance further committed to the payment of E10 million on a weekly basis towards the Micro-Projects Unit.
She further commended government for finding it prudent to increase the farming subsidies to 65 per cent.
MP Mhlanga added that about E3 million would be directed towards payment of subscriptions and sitting allowances for parliamentarians.
He also noted that part of the funds would be directed towards procurement of protective gear for members of the police service who were currently under attack.
Prime Minister, Cleopas Dlamini, pleaded for support from the MPs for passing the budget to reallocate the funds towards areas of importance.
He noted that each year, government planned on how to use the available funds but due to developments along the way, part of the funds had to be redirected towards other projects.
The premier said part of the funds would also be used to fund scholarships.
“I must admit that there was a miscalculation when budgeting for scholarships as we had budgeted more than the available funds, hence the need to reallocate some of the funds to cater for the scholarships,” said Dlamini.
Siphocosini MP, Mduduzi Matsebula, supported the passing of the report and said the funds would go a long way towards cushioning the impact of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, which had resulted in a steep increase in commodity prices.
Nhlambeni MP, Manzi Zwane pleaded with government to ensure that all the students who were supposed to be awarded scholarships were catered for. Some of the legislators requested for assurance that the commitment from government on the E10 million budgeted for Microprojects was honoured.
Minister of Finance Neal Rijkenberg clarified that government had already began the weekly payment and at present, E50 million of the E176 million had been paid out.
He added that the last instalment would be paid on December 10. He further stated that government would them commence with the payment of E180 million budgeted for the RDF.
While motivating for the adoption of the Emergency Food Programme Loan Bill report, Nxumalo said these funds would be utilised for financing of farm inputs as well as budget support.
MP Mhlanga said the loan would help cushion the escalating costs of food. He added that the farm inputs, which previously covered one hectare, would now cover three hectares that would go a long way towards ensuring that food insecurity was a thing of the past.
The legislators also adopted the report of the ministry of public works and transport portfolio committee on the roads authority. The adoption of the report was motivated by Ntfonjeni MP, Sifiso ‘Sompisi’ Magagula, who was seconded by Gilgal MP, Kenneth Sandla Fakudze.
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