MEMBERS of Parliament (MPs) on Monday began deliberating on the budget proposals for the 2014/2015 financial year, where the government plans to spend over 19.8tri/- on recurrent votes and development programmes.
The focus of the budget unveiled by Finance Minister Saada Mkuya Salum in Dodoma last Thursday, is on education, infrastructure, energy, agriculture and water supply.
The government also announced that it was targeting economic growth of 7.7 per cent for 2014/2015, up from 7.0 per cent in 2013, while aiming for a budget deficit below 4.9 per cent of GDP.
Going by yesterday's spirited comments by a dozen of MPs who had the opportunity to take to the floor in the chamber, it appears the legislators are going to come up with constructive and healthy criticisms during the week-long session.
According to the constitution, the role of Parliament is to monitor and supervise the conduct of government business, on behalf of the Wananchi.
The government of the day and the Parliament derive their respective authority from the wananchi.
It is hoped that the MPs will execute their role effectively and see to it that every shilling out of 19.8tri/- is used for the intended purpose in the interest of tax-payers.
The days of useless tax exemptions and lavish or profligate spending should be brought to an end as promised by the finance minister on Thursday.
It is said that the government loses trillions of shillings through theft, massive embezzlement and notorious tax exemptions. Some analysts estimate that tax exemptions cost
This colossal amount of money could have comfortably financed teachers' salaries, desks, textbooks, medicines and many other needs in a year.
The Parliament must also closely monitor implementation of the budget, particularly execution of development projects.
There are complaints that government does not fully disburse funds to most projects.
This practice has resulted into many unfinished projects and the so-called costly white elephants in many sectors including education, infrastructure, water supply and health.
The appeal to MPs is that they should not be contented with how much funds have been allocated to projects in their respective constituencies, but follow up the money to the final conclusion. Let accountability be the order of the day from now on.
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