Improving Performance of the Malawi Parliament: AFIDEP Conducts Budget Analysis Training for Parliament Staff
19 September 2018
Author: Evelyn Kasambara and Rose Oronje
The training focuses on building understanding of the budgeting process in Malawi and Parliament's role in this process. Photo: Victory Kamthunzi/AFIDEP

With support from USAID Malawi through the Malawi STEPS grant to Counterpart International, AFIDEP is implementing the Malawi Parliamentary Support Initiative (M-PSI). This project aims to improve the capacity and performance of the Malawi Parliament in carrying out its oversight, legislative and representation functions. M-PSI was officially launched in May 2018 and is expected to run for 13 months.

As part of MPSI, AFIDEP is conducting a training workshop on budget analysis for Parliament staff on 18-19 September 2018 in Mponela, Malawi. The training, which is benefiting staff from the newly formed parliamentary budget office, research department, and committee section, focuses on building understanding of the budgeting process in Malawi and Parliament’s role in this process. Some of the topics covered by the training include: the Malawi budget process, the budget/fiscal framework, techniques for budget analysis, applications to Malawi budget framework, budget analysis from a human rights based perspective, budget analysis reporting, and analyzing the financial implications for bills.

The training is being facilitated by one of Malawi’s leading economists, Professor Winford Masanjala from the University of Malawi. Prof. Masanjala is a partner on the MPSI project.

This training is being attended by 25 Parliament staff. Budgeting is a critical oversight function of Parliament, and so this training will contribute to improving Malawi’s Parliament’s performance when it comes to scrutinizing budgets proposed by the Executive, tracking expenditure, and strengthening the country’s fiscal policies.

Here is what the Parliament staff who are participating in the workshop have to say about the workshop:

“This training gives me a better understanding of how to analyze the budget. My department being responsible for budgeting this training is beneficial and it will help in formulation, analysis and implementation of the budget.” Mr Mkwezalamba, Policy and Planning Officer.

“The training was very good. Practice staff being told. The trainer has vast experience in the field and the weather is very good for training. There is need for longer and more detailed session on excel use, the notes shared and excel sheets samples are great additions for us to perfect the training delivered.” Mr Alfred Mangani, Legislative Research Expert.

“The training has deepened my knowledge and skills in Budget Analysis. It will really help me in my work.” Mr Adam Chikapa, Budget Analysis Expert.

“The workshop has assisted a lot in such a way that I have knowledge on what the budget cycle is all about. I have learnt that the sequence of the budget how the budget is prepared, how it is approved, how it is executed and also how it can be controlled. As a research officer, the major thing that I will improve is on scrutinizing the laws that come with the budget not only celebrating that the budget has been passed.” Ms Marie M. Chibwe, Research Officer.

“This training is so important as it has enlightened us the budget processes in which we didn’t have much knowledge before we now have an understanding of how the budget are formulated and how the resources are allocated to different government MDAs, the skills gained will help us understand the national budget better they will also help us to holistically analyse the budget.” Mr Gibson Kanyerere, Policy and Planning Officer.

“The training has equipped me with knowledge and skills on budget tracking and analysis. This will help me in the long run as a parliamentary researcher to be able to present and write well informed and evidence based analysis to our MPs.” Name withheld.

“This training has improved my understanding on budget analysis specifically techniques for budget analysis and application to the Malawi framework. This will enable me as a clerk to provide better guidance to MPs during Budget scrutiny. This will, in turn, improve quality of budget analysis by MPs.” Name withheld.

“This training has been useful in enhancing my knowledge in Budget Analysis and I will use this knowledge in my day to day work activities with members (giving technical advice to MPs).” Name withheld.

“Very useful in my day to day work as a researcher and analyst. It has enhanced my understanding of the budget process but also why certain things are done in the manner they are presented.” Name withheld.  

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