Parliament, Ministries Reach Accord to Ensure Accountability


Twenty standing committees signed the agreement with their respective ministries.




In an effort to ensure the accountability of the government, parliamentary standing committees signed an agreement with the executive branch on delivering annually targeted performances for each ministry.

The signing ceremony was held last Friday, June 20, in parliament where Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) and Muferiat Kamil, speaker of the House, were present.

“The parliament standing committees will get into a formal contractual agreement with the respective ministries that lists the tasks that are expected to be delivered by government agencies at the end of the fiscal year,” Abiy had said back in May, during the meeting he had with his cabinet.

Twenty standing committees have signed the agreement with their respective ministries.

“Based on each ministry’s target, the second edition of the Growth & Transformation Plan (GTP II) and the government’s long-standing policies, we will follow-up the performances of the ministry under our supervision,” said Tesfaye Daba, member of parliament and chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Standing Committee.

The standing committees will hold surprise visits at the ministries as well as to project sites under their charge. Unlike previous times when the visits were announced in advance, these visits will be unannounced. Evaluation by the standing committees will be live streamed, and the signed agreements will be made public, said Abiy back in May.

“This will allow parliament to play its role effectively,” tweeted Fitsum Arega, chief of staff at the Prime Minister’s Office.

Parliament had approved 346.9 billion Br for this new fiscal year including for capital, recurrent expenditures, subsidiary appropriations to regional states and support for the achievement of the sustainable development goals (SDGs).

While defending the budget before parliament, Abiy had stressed that the poor utilisation of resources and corruption in the public sector are significant challenges facing the economy.

The Federal General Auditor has shared his point for the past few years. There was 6.3 billion Br in audit gaps in the 2014/15 fiscal years. The next year, the Auditor General shocked MPs when he reported that audit gaps in the 2015/16 budget year had more than tripled, reaching 20 billion Br.

The 59-page report, presented to parliament on the financial performances of 173 federal agencies in 2016/17 fiscal year, showed that audit gaps have stayed at the previous year’s level.

Financial irregularities are attributed to overspending, procurements carried out without proper procedures and failing to make use of the reporting mechanisms. These issues have remained as major challenge facing the government as it plans to cut back spending. This year’s federal budget is lower in dollar terms compared to last year’s.

“The leadership of poorly performing government bodies will be held accountable, and if needs be, they will be forced to resign from their posts,” Tesfaye told Fortune.

Amir Aman (MD), the minister of Health, reviewing his stay in the office, tweeted, “It’s been an amazing three months and a great journey so far … we’re now fully focused on setting priorities for the new fiscal [year].”



By BEHAILU AYELE
FORTUNE STAFF WRITER

Published on Jul 21,2018 [ Vol 19 ,No 951]


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