JIMMY CHIBUYE, Lusaka
SPEAKER of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini says members of Parliament (MPs) are in a vantage position to contribute to the shaping, advancement and implementation of the sustainable development goals (SDG) agenda.
Dr Matibini said MPs can contribute to achieving sustainable development by enacting relevant legislation and closely monitoring the implementation of the various programmes and initiatives.
He said this during the fourth World Conference of Speakers of Parliament convened by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in co-operation with the United Nations (UN) at the UN headquarters in New York.
This is according to a statement issued on Wednesday by Chibaula Silwamba, the first secretary for press and public relations at Zambiaâ€™s permanent mission to the UN in New York.
â€œHowever, it is a matter of regret that currently, Parliaments tend to be left behind in critical developmental conversations and processes. Yet Parliaments are the central and cardinal institutions of democracy which embody the will and aspirations of the people,â€ Dr Matibini said.
He said Zambia has made significant parliamentary reforms.
Dr Matibini urged parliamentarians as direct representatives of the people to make their voices heard and define the fiscal and budgetary trajectory of their nations.
He said since 2002, an ambitious process of enhancing the core functions of Parliament has been implemented through the parliamentary reform programme.
â€œThese parliamentary reforms have in particular enhanced parliamentary oversight in the following ways, alignment of parliamentary committees to Government ministries to enhance policy development and implementation,â€ he said.
Dr Matibini said various stakeholders and interested groups are provided a platform to submit and contribute to the legislative process.
â€œWhen considering the budget estimates, we have provided for an Expanded Committee of Estimates, which includes chairpersons of portfolio committees to scrutinise the proposed estimates on behalf of Parliament. This dispensation allows for diverse perspectives during the discussion of the estimates at committee level,â€ he said.
Dr Matibini said through engagement with civil society organisations, the business community and other stakeholders, Parliament promotes peace and the practice of democracy, thereby fostering sustainable development.
He also said Zambia has established constituency offices in all the 150 constituencies, and that these offices are strategically deployed as centres of democracy and development.
JIMMY CHIBUYE, Lusaka