SADC MPs belonging to public accounts committees gather for capacity building training, 16 September 2018
|Story by George Sanzila
The regional public financial management training for improved budget oversight and accountability was officially opened by Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Loide Kasingo today (17/09/18). The training that is targeting Members of Parliament and support staff belonging to Public Accounts Committees in Southern Africa is part of a series of meetings of the Southern African Development Community Organisation of Public Accounts Committees (SADCOPAC) currently underway in Namibia.
The training is preceded by the governing council and office bearers meetings of SADCOPAC that took place last week. The training is organized by the African Organisation of Public Accounts Committees (AFROPAC) in collaboration with GIZ. Members of Parliament from various SADC countries are gathered in the coastal town of Swakopmund since last week for the training.
Speaking at the official opening of the training, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Loide Kasingo noted that illicit financial flows have continuously robbed Africa of its much needed financial resources. “Illicit financial flows is estimated to be currently more than four times Africa’s foreign debt with major sources being tax evasion by multinationals, criminal activities such as piracy, corruption, bribes and smuggling, transfer pricing and embezzlement of public funds”, lamented Kasingo.
The Deputy Speaker believes Public Accounts Committees are the panacea for change and restoring good public financial management, especially when Africa has set Agenda 2063 that calls for strong reforms and growing economies. “The African Union Agenda 2063 is embarking on reforms aimed at addressing varied challenges such as growing our economies and curbing corruption. It is for this reason that we need strong parliamentary oversight committees such as the Public Accounts Committees that provides checks and balances to ensure transparency in the utilization of public financial resources”, said the Deputy Speaker.
Namibian Member of Parliament and Chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee at the National Assembly, who also chairs the SADCOPAC organization, Hon. Mike Kavekotora shared similar sentiments noting that Public Accounts Committees ensures accountability on any government related expenditure.
Erongo Regional Governor, Hon. Cleophas Mutjavikua who equally accentuated the importance of Public Accounts Committees, noted at the opening of the annual general meeting that preceded the training, that the success of SADCOPAC was dependent on collaborations and support from all stakeholders. SADCOPAC , launched in 2003 in Windhoek, is an organization comprised of SADC member states with the responsibility of empowering members of Parliament in member states to effectively carry out their functions of oversight over public sector finances and the promotion of good governance in the region. The training that is underway will look at pertinent issues such as budgeting for the sustainable development goals, challenges and key tasks of Parliamentary oversight in the budget cycle among others.
Countries in SADC that are currently active in the organisation include Namibia, Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Namibia is hosting this year’s event with over 100 Members of Parliament from SADC countries belonging to Public Accounts Committees of Parliament and their staff in attendance. The training ends on Friday (21/09/18).