By Gary Hatigeva
THE seventh meeting of the 10th Parliament House was yesterday adjourned and is expected to resume on Monday March 19, 2018.
This was voted on in a motion of special adjournment moved by Prime Minister Rick Houenipwela with reasons to allow the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to immediately look into matters of the 2018 national budget.
The motion of special adjournment faced no objections from both the Independent and Opposition groups, but they called for an amendment to the motion.
Contributing to the motion of special adjournment, Member of Parliament for Aoke/Langalanga and Chair of the PAC, Matthew Wale suggested for the Prime Minister to extend the proposed date for parliament’s resumption to the 26th and not 19th of March as projected.
He further suggested that the Prime Minister until a few weeks ago was the chairman of PAC and has always been complaining on the floor of parliament about time limitation given to the committee to thoroughly do its work.
“Even those that are now in the government who were former PAC members would know that this is a legitimate and reasonable concern,” the Aoke/Langalanga MP stressed.
Having formed an important part of the core of parliamentary oversight of the executive government Wale said the PAC will need enough time to thoroughly look into all aspects of the budget.
“Especially, in a year where there is too much self-inflicted austerity, forcing the Government to go bankrupt and broke,” Wale said.
Wale added that the amount of time given is not enough knowing that PAC has a very big duty of care to inspect everything that the government proposes to do in this year
“Please give the Public Accounts Committee at least two weeks to do its job.
“We’re going to look at all ministries and then of course of report writing has always drag us and so for the safe side, it would be better to be given two weeks and that should give us ample time to deal with the budget,” the PAC Chair expressed.
However, when responding to the call, Prime Minister Hounipwela explained that with his previous experiences on dealing with the budget, given very limited time, his committee have always managed to pull things through and have the budget ready for parliament debates.
“…we have had to deal with the budget within one and a half weeks, however, this one given is two weeks so I think there is enough time.
“I think it is sufficient time given to PAC to deal with the Budget,” the Prime Minister pointed out before moving the motion of special adjournment.
Despite the call, Parliament resorted to the initial proposed dates and voted to have the house adjourned.