THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY AND THE AGENCIES THAT ARE INDEPENDENT IN BUDGETING

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The executive organs of the state is responsible for planning, preparing, presenting and executing the annual budget of the state. The ministry of finance engages the different budgetary agencies of the state to negotiate and finalise on their budgetary items and allocations for presentation as estimates to the National Assembly for approval before execution by budgetary agencies.

The Constitution however did not consider it wise and proper to leave key institutions in the hands of the executive for the determination of the annual share from the national budget. It leaves them to approach the National Assembly directly for consideration of their budget and make it mandatory on the executive to only receive and transmit their budgetary proposal to the National Assembly without altering it. These institutions include the Judiciary, the Independent Electoral Commission and the National Audit Office.

These institutions require utmost protection if there is to be democracy, accountability and justice. The IEC is responsible for ensuring free, fair, transparent and genuine elections to preserve the democracy of the country, the judiciary is to provide independent, impartial, fair and speedy justice to ensure that rights are protected and the National Audit Office is responsible for accountability in all areas of public finance.

The National Assembly is deemed to be the competent body to look into the budgetary proposals of these bodies and allocate resources that would ensure effectiveness, efficiency, transparency and probity in their undertakings. In this regard, the National Assembly should focus on the functions of these institutions in considering their budgets and not just simply rely on the application of a goal to reduce deficit and do so at the expense of the consolidation of democracy, justice and accountability in the functioning of the state. A careful balance should be maintained between the exigencies of financial discipline and the demand to consolidate a democratic, accountable and just state. That is how matters stand.