Mount Pleasant Member of Parliament Fadzayi Mahere who joined Parliament four months ago has given the impression that the government is trying to avoid scrutiny of the 2024 budget by adjourning Parliament to 12 December claiming that the budget should have been debated soon after presentation.
A check with Hansard, the Parliamentary record, shows that over the last five years the budget has never been debated on the day it was presented.
Mahere said on her X handle: “After the Budget was presented yesterday (Thursday), it was supposed to be debated. Minister Mthuli Ncube then moved a motion that the debate be adjourned to 5 December 2023.
“To our surprise, Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi then requested an adjournment to 12 December 2023 on the pretext that portfolio committees would sit this week to do post-budget consultations, hearings and analysis. The Speaker authorized the adjournment.
“We have just been informed that no portfolio committees are not sitting this week because of ‘accommodation challenges.’
“Why is there hesitation about proper scrutiny of the proposed Budget?
“Why was the public not consulted adequately before the Budget presentation was made as required by law?
“Why do they not want Parliament to exercise full oversight and monitoring of the budgetary process?
“Are they expecting scrutiny to have died down by 12 December?
“Why are they afraid of an informed debate?”
A check with Hansard shows that the 2023 budget was presented on 24 November 2022 and Parliamentary immediately adjourned to 6 December.
The 2022 budget was presented on 25 November 2021 and Parliament adjourned to 7 December.
The same goes for the 2021 budget. It was presented on 26 November 2020.Parliament adjourned to 1 December.
The 2020 budget was presented on 14 November 2019. Parliament adjourned to 26 November.
The 2019 budget was presented on 22 November 2018 and Parliament adjourned to 28 November.
According to Hansard, all Members of Parliament are expected to attend a post budget seminar on the 2024 budget on Monday, 4 December. Portfolio committees are expected to hold consultative meetings from Monday afternoon to Thursday, 7 December.