For quite some time now, Policy Forum has been at the forefront in advocating for an establishment of a Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) in Tanzania. In many countries, PBOs are usually independent non partisan entities within the legislature that examine the draft annual budget proposed by the executive and provides analytical support to parliamentarians so as enhance their ability to question the tabled proposal and enable them to propose alternative budget proposals. Establishment of this institution in Tanzania will significantly help the MPs in executing their oversight role. Several sessions have been held between CSOs and the Parliament to discuss on the rationale for this.
On early June 2013, we were delighted to receive an invitation from the Parliament of Tanzania in collaboration with the United Nations Development Program under their Legislatures Support Project to attend a session on Budget Committees and Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO). The session took place on the 9th of June 2013 in Dodoma.
During this particular session, Policy Forum made a presentation to the members of the Budget Committee, under their chair, Honorable Andrew Chenge, on the experiences from other countries (like Kenya and Uganda) that have this office. It was interesting that during the discussion, every MP was in favour of the PBO being established especially after having heard of its benefits and how our neighbouring countries have been benefiting from such bodies.
We are happy with this recent show of interest for the PBO by the Bunge office. As it was pointed out during the session, it is high time that MPs and the government see the importance of strengthening the Parliament as a true oversight institution. Since the government on their part is backed by a team of well-informed technocrats, MPs should equally have similar support to perform their oversight role more effectively.