Solly Makgonoto, Ogopoleng Mushi
National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete said that Parliament is committed to the vision of “an integrated and prosperous Africa”, driven by Africans themselves as they become a force in the world. Mbete made these remarks while welcoming local and international delegates to the second African Parliamentary Budget Office Conference.
Parliamentary Budget Offices (PBOs) provide “independent, objective and professional advice and analyses to Parliament” on matters related to budgets and other money bills. In South Africa, said Mbete, “the PBO must support the implementation of the Money Bills Act by undertaking research and analysis for the Finance and Appropriations committees in both houses of Parliament.” Mbete said this was having a positive impact on Parliament’s function.
Mbete was particularly happy with the increased number of African delegations, as Members of Parliament (MPs) and civil society gathered to collaborate on better governance, oversight and economic development. “Our efforts can help improve the security and well-being of the people of Africa and the world,” said Mbete.
“We are committed to the common vision of “an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by Africans to represent a dynamic force in the global arena “.
The conference is taking place in Cape Town. It aims to address and discuss the role of PBOs in African Parliaments’ fiscal oversight as well as their contribution to the development of Africa.
The inception of the PBOs in 2013 was inspired by Agenda 2063, a strategic framework aiming for social-economic transformation of Africa over the next 50 years. There are other of initiatives already underway such the Lagos Plan of Action, the Minimal Integration Programme as well as others that will help push Africa to closer to the vision of Agenda 2063.
The South African National Assembly Speaker also welcomed the growth of the initiative in SA’s neighbouring countries.”The conference last year saw the launch of an African Network of Parliamentary Budget Offices (AN-PBO). This second conference is the fruit of this network. I am happy to hear that the representation from African PBOs at the conference this year is better and we are proud to welcome representatives involved in setting up new PBOs in our neighbouring countries.”
Mbete expressed hope that just as South Africa would continue to learn and grow, the collaborative nature of the conference meant all delegates from around the world would learn from each other’s experience.
“We have seen the positive impact of our South African Parliamentary Budget Office grow since its inception in 2013. We look forward to an even better PBO because of its learning and sharing as part of the African Network of PBOs. This conference will provide space for our PBO and the other African PBOs to share experiences with regard to
implementation of their functions of supporting legislatures in fiscal matters. I am pleased that we can also learn from our esteemed guests from other parts of the world who have come to share their wealth of experience with us.”