Southern Africa Development Committee Parliamentary Forum (SADC PF) is seeking to help its member countries nip corruption, fraud, nepotism and cronyism rampant in public finance management (PFM) across the bloc through a Model Law.
The Model Law is designed to assist the member states in reforming and modernizing their laws on public finance management.
With a draft document of the PFM Model Law, SADC PF Secretariat is soliciting inputs from various parliamentary committees across the region, especially public accounts committees, as the region intends to move towards modern ways of managing national fiscal management, plugging out different ills affecting the public purse.
SADC PF, Secretary General, Boemo Sekgoma said the bloc has been home to a number of alleged corruption issues which could have been better handled or monitored if parliaments had the necessary oversight powers.
“Sometimes, although parliament does have the constitutional prerogative to monitor PFM processes, the same is not used since there is no express provision to that effect in the standing orders or in any other law,” said Sekgoma.
Sekgoma said the SADC PF Secretariat was motivated to craft a harmonious regional response to guide national parliaments in monitoring of public fund processes by a need to consolidate PFM provisions.
The development of the Model Law is expected to be the winning formula for economic development to flourish across SADC and to heighten GDP per capita, according to Sekgoma.
“It is known that the foundations of economic development, and democratisation within SADC are indeed a corruption-free environment with the necessary checks and balances in place,” she said.
Sekgoma is upbeat that should all SADC national parliaments parliament be able to monitor PFM processes in all transparency and without hindrances, the regional bloc will progressively thrive and attain unprecedented economic prosperity.
“The SADC region has the potential to generate immense wealth which should trickle down to the SADC citizenry with the support of targeted Parliamentary initiatives on PFM.”
Sharing her sentiments, Zambia’s finance minister, Dr. Situmbeko Musokotwane said the Model Law will help tackle the issue of corruption in the bloc and other challenges on public finance.
“It’s an excellent piece of work, as the region makes continuous efforts to improve things,” said Dr. Musokotwane.
“I encourage the SADC PF forum to continue with this kind of work of making model laws,” he added.
He emphasized that though each country in the region has legislations governing public finance, the member countries should strive to improve the laws.
“Public finance should involve participation of all state organs to provide balance,” said Musokotwane.
He bemoaned that most governments still have centralized public finance administration.
“The decentralization of budget is key, the ministers of finance should empower local governments to manage spending and expenditure.”
Leader of Opposition, Dumelang Saleshando bringing it to the local scenario said there is always a problem of oversight in Botswana in the sense that when the backbenches from the ruling party act in unison with the executive it renders parliamentary oversight irrelevant.
“The desire is to make sure that we do have appropriate up to date legislation and that the model law will be an important tool for Botswana to reflect on what we have versus what happens in the most ideal situations,” said Saleshando.
SADC PF is developing a Public Finance Management Model Law, the first of its kind, intended to serve as a landmark regional benchmark to consolidate the oversight powers of SADC parliaments over various processes of public finance