With the 2024 National Budget Speech to be read out by the Minister of Finance and National Planning, Hon Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane MP on 29th September 2023, Zambia Institute for Policy Analysis and Research (ZIPAR) has begun gearing up for the analysis. As a build-up to the analysis, ZIPAR, in partnership with the United Nations System in Zambia (UNICEF and UNDP) and the National Assembly of Zambia II – EU and the Parliamentary Budget Office conducted a capacity building training workshop on Sector Budget Analysis for Members of Parliament (MPs) and the staff of the National Assembly. The workshop was held at Ciela Resort from 23rd to 24th September 2023 and was attended by 92 MPs and over 20 staff of the National Assembly.
The workshop was aimed at equipping the Members of Parliament with the skills required to analyse the budget both the aggregate and sector levels. As elected officials mandated to hold the executive accountable concerning the public financial management of the country, the MPs were trained to understand the essential metrics, the data sources, methodologies and examples of sector budget analysis from both the social and real sectors of the economy.
The workshop was officially opened on 23rd September 2023 by the Right Honourable Madam Speaker of the National Assembly, Nelly Mutti, MP. In her address, ,The Speaker informed the MPs that the budgeting system has undergone reforms in the recent past including; changing from activity-based-budgeting to output-based-budgeting, and the integration of the planning and budgeting processes through the passing of the National Planning and Budgeting Act No 1 of 2020.
The speaker also stressed that participation of the MPs in capacity building workshops such as this would further equip them with skills to scrutinize different economic sectors to inform the legislative process.
At the same event, the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Ms. Beatrice Mutali, in her remarks, acknowledged the partnership between ZIPAR and the UN System in Zambia in She also stressed that the training is intended to sharpen analytical skills, and foster the understanding of the contents of the budget beyond the Minister’s budget speech in parliament.
In his remarks, ZIPAR Executive Director, Dr. Herrick Mpuku highlighted that this year’s training was focused on Sector Budget analysis compared to the aggregate level budget analysis conducted in 2022. He, further, highlighted that the balance of budget expenditure significantly impacts the real and social sectors affecting Government spending on education and health, manufacturing, the agricultural sector, and social benefits programmes. Dr. Mpuku, also, stressed that to stimulate economic recovery, the Government must look at the sectors on which to focus the scarce resources, and the aspects of those sectors which should be emphasised.
In closing, he reaffirmed that ZIPAR, as a public think tank will remain committed to objectively researching public policy issues in all sectors, and offering options for resolving any challenges arising therein.