Speaker of the national assembly, Peter Katjavivi says government should consider citizens’ opinions when formulating the national budget because citizens also have the role to play.
Katjavivi said this while giving his remarks in the post 2023/2024 budget analysis and advocacy workshop for members of parliament which took place on Tuesday in Windhoek.
“We must take into conscience the popular opinion among the citizens that the parliament does not do more than endorse the proposal from the ministry of finance,” he said.
“We look into how best citizens will also have the role to play during the formulating of the budget,” he added.
Katjavivi also spoke on how the national assembly is keen on the establishment of the parliamentary budget office that will support standing committees and members of parliament on budget approval as well as oversight budget execution.
He pointed out that members are in support of the idea to increase the participation of the public in the budgeting process in order to ensure that resources are spent efficiently.
“Members were advocating for a much more increased public participation in the budgeting process to ensure efficient and effective expenditures of public resources to our national and standard treatment guidelines aligned priorities,” he said.
He further said the government is improving the progress of human capital and sustainable development. “We are already talking about improving progress on human capital and sustainable development that requires improving the budget transparency mechanism for the public to contribute to budgeting processes and parliamentary and audit oversight,” he added.
Speaking at the same event, United Nations international children’s emergency fund representative to Namibia, Rachel Odede who said there is a need to invest more on education mainly on early childhood development.
Odede further highlighted that the allocation of funds to pre-primary education has dropped in this year’s budget from 3% in the 2022/2023 budget to 1.4% in the 2023/2024 budget.
“We really need to revisit our allocation to early childhood development,” she said. Odede added that the question should focus on how to translate the huge budgetary commitment in sectors such as health, education and protection into better outcomes for children.
“How do we ensure that these resources secure the future of this country that is benefiting children,” she said. She said UNICEF is committed to supporting the government and working with other relevant government ministries in order to improve the budget making process for better outcomes for children and people of Namibia at large.