Sunday 2020-11-01

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UPROAR AS GOVT ABSENT AT BUDGET WORKSHOP

By Mbono Mdluli | 2019-02-26

THE budget workshop for members of parliament held yesterday was almost chaotic as cabinet ministers elected to absent themselves.

This happened yesterday during the training of  MPs on budget literacy. The workshop was conducted by Financial Services Volunteer Corps (FSVC). They included Baly Mourad  (Programme Manager), Marjan Nikolov and Vesna Garvanlieva.

Marjan Nikolov was the workshop facilitator, who gave information throughout the workshop.

Purpose

 The purpose of the workshop was to sharpen the MPs with skills that would enable them to effectively play an oversight role on how government handled public finances. It was also meant to sharpen the Executive with skills that would enable them to handle funds in a way that would bring better life for all Emaswati.

The MPs went to the workshop yesterday, having been informed that Cabinet ministers would also be part of the workshop. It looked as if the legislators were looking forward to having the Cabinet ministers in their midst, probably to ensure that they also heard loud and clear how they were supposed to handle public funds.

However, the Cabinet ministers were not to be part of the workshop yesterday. This caused uproar among the legislators, such that it became difficult to move forward with the workshop. Nikolov found himself having to answer questions he did not know, as he was asked who he was talking to because the Executive was not part of the workshop.

Nikolov was only implementing his duty of differentiating between the roles between the Legislature and the Executive when the hullabaloo took place. He said the role of the Executive was to set goals  on what they wanted to achieve in the next financial year and making sure they managed that. The role of the Legislature, according to Nikolov, was to ensure that the Executive did just that.

Key Matters

The MPs did not understand why Nikolov was talking about a role of people who were not present at the workshop. Ndzingeni MP Lutfo Dlamini is the one who rescued the situation and explained what caused the hullabaloo.

He said the problem was that MPs expected that Cabinet ministers would be present yesterday, so that they should also listen to what Nikolov’s teachings included. The sudden absence of the ministers disturbed the MPs such that they saw no reason of continuing with the workshop when the very people who were key in budgetary matters were not present.

Dlamini said it would be good for someone to apologise on behalf of the ministers and explain why they were not available. House of Assembly Speaker Petros Mavimbela explained that Cabinet had communicated and stated that they had been busy with some Cabinet responsibilities yesterday.

Mavimbela pleaded with the MPs to continue with the workshop because Cabinet would be joining them today.

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