The active engagement of the National Assembly in the budget process is essential to promote good governance
Parliamentary oversight of the budget – both during preparation as well as implementation and ex-post analysis – is vital to any democratic system. Effective financial scrutiny ensures that governments are held accountable for their actions and the citizens know how the taxes they pay are being allocated and invested.
"Members of Parliament should be able to do more than just accept or reject the budget; they should be in a position to analyse, appreciate and question the macro-economic framework, the sectoral allocations, the consistency between the allocations and related policy issues at sectoral level" – said the Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Zambia and COMESA in his opening remarks during the launch of the Public Finance Management Handbook at the Parliament.
The PFM Handbook has been developed to contribute to the sensitisation of Members of Parliament and staff of the National Assembly by providing with a general introduction to the concepts of public financial management, fiscal decentralisation and good financial governance and guidance on Parliament’s role and responsibilities throughout the budget cycle.
In addition to the efforts in enhancing the abilities of the parliamentary committees involved in the oversight of the budget process, the European Union has supported the creation of the Parliamentary Budget Office, which is providing parliamentary committees with independent and professional support in matters related to economic, fiscal and budgetary policies.