Dear Local Governance and Budget Working Groups, As you know last year we did some joint work with the Parliament Office supported by IDASA. The understanding was that this collaboration would continue. We are currently finalizing the agreement we were going to have with IDASA for this work. Last year we identified the Budget Process as the main area of collaboration.
The session we had with the Fedha na Uchumi Committee was one and the later one which was supposed to be with staff from the Parliament office and Committee Clerks did not happen due to a negotiation that was going on with the Bunge office.
We would like to see how we can develop our access to Parliamentary committees this year as well as is in our annual plan. Since accountability in the budget process is an area that is of great interest to both CSOs and parliamentarians, I propose we continue to collaborate with parliament on the budget process and budget proposals. Two areas immediately come to mind. These are:
1) A deeper understanding of how budget decisions are made, how these decisions are implemented, what systemic issues would make this process more accountable and efficient. The citizens’ guide will feed into this discussion and will be a concrete thing we can share as will be whatever budget briefs we produce. We could also look into beginning a discussion around an alternative budget if you all still feel energized and capacitated to do this.
2) I would like to see us all develop a better understanding of revenues, particularly from the extractive industries. This is an area where there have been a lot of questions lately and if we can develop a better collective understanding of how to monitor revenues more effectively, it would strengthen our advocacy in this area. I met a team from Revenue Watch some time last year and we have since been corresponding. They are coming to do some work with parliament this year and I proposed, subject to your agreement, that it could be an area of collaboration for us too.
Any comments on this, particularly on the areas proposed, would be very useful. I see this as an area where the 2 working groups could usefully collaborate. I will also make it an agenda item in our next monthly meeting in order to hopefully get more feedback.
I look forward to hearing from you.