News From Parliament
- Published on Tuesday, 24 July 2012 03:42
- Written by ALVAR MWAKYUSA in Dodoma
- Hits: 516
THE National Assembly here finally unanimously endorsed the 2012/2013 budget estimates for the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives. The estimates failed to sail through in the eleventh hour on Saturday due to lack of quorum.
Tabling the ministry's estimates last Friday, the Minister for Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives, Engineer Christopher Chiza, had asked the august House to approve a total of 243.73bn/- for recurrent and development expenditures in addition to funds for development of cooperative unions countrywide.
However, as the debate on the budget entered a second day last Saturday, lack of quorum led into postponement of the proceedings. Nominated MP who is also NCCR-Mageuzi chairman, Mr James Mbatia, had raised concerns about the lack of quorum, citing Standing Orders which require half of MPs to be present during passing of budget estimates.
At the time he raised the motion on Saturday, there were only 98 out of the required 172 MPs needed. The House has a total of almost 350 MPs. The absenteeism by MPs was due to the fact that some of them had travelled to Zanzibar for the burial of victims of the sunken MV Skagit.
Others were said to be attending a funeral of the mother of one of the legislators in Longido District, Arusha Region. Speaking shortly after the question and answer session, Kasulu Urban MP, Moses Machali (NCCR-Mageuzi) had argued that the whole process of passing the budget be restarted but the petition was objected to by Speaker of the National Assembly, Ms Anne Makinda.
Ms Makinda argued that resuming the process would be illogical since the House had not made any decision yet. Mr Mbatia, who was recently nominated as MP by President Jakaya Kikwete, told journalists that his party was contemplating to move a motion in the august House to revoke all decisions that had been passed in absence of quorum.
The soft-spoken politician argued then that as per the Parliamentary Standing Orders, the Deputy Speaker was not supposed to allow the debate to continue when it was clear that the quorum
was not reached.
In another development, Mr Chiza said his ministry would communicate with the Attorney General's office regarding the liquidation of the defunct Mara Cooperative Union. His remarks were prompted by a concern raised by Mwibara MP, Mr Kangi Lugola, who claimed that most of property belonging to the cooperative union were being plundered by those overseeing the liquidation process.