Members of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) are on a five-day capacity building workshop on the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Auditing processes in a bid to enhance the oversight function of the Assembly.
The workshop, which started Thursday in Zanzibar, presents an opportune moment for EALA to be able to harness an understanding of the technical workings of the MTEF budgeting and to comprehend the procedures of the auditing processes, according to officials.
In a statement EALA Speaker, Daniel Kidega said: “ Some of the interesting topics include the role of the Committee on Accounts and the Assembly in the accountability process as well as the technical and political review of the Audit Commission Report.”
It comes after the standing Committees on Accounts and General Purpose called for enhancement of capacities in the field to equip the Assembly with the necessary skills and expertise and to improve its oversight function.
Under the Audit function, the workshop is expected to enhance MPs’ capacity to carry out the post audit function that encompasses the need to monitor the implementation of the budget in a manner similar to internal audit, among others.
Topics to be covered hereunder include: the role of the Committee on Accounts and the Assembly in the accountability process; the technical and political review of the Audit Commission Report and auditing standards.
The EAC adopted the MTEF, an annual exercise rolling three year expenditure planning, in its budgeting process since 2011.
The MTEF allocates resources based on priorities and ensures that allocations are consistent with the objectives of the bloc. It contains outcome criteria for the purpose of performance monitoring together with the Annual Budget planning.
During the workshop, consultants drawn from the EAC Audit Commission and the University of Zanzibar will help lawmakers understand the guiding policies in planning and its linkage with the budgeting process to enable them familiarise themselves with the MTEF preparation and presentation format.
Earlier this year, a report by the EAC Audit Commission showed that the Secretariat, the executive organ of the Community, was abusing the bloc’s funds.
The Audit Commission, which comprises auditors-general of all EAC partner states, had covered activities of the bloc for the financial year 2012/2013. It, among others, found that the Arusha-based Secretariat spent about $3.4 million during the financial year in review on uncalled-for procurement of air tickets.
But the Secretariat rejected the audit report saying, in a statement, that in the previous years, many EAC-related institutions received qualified or disclaimer opinions and that it was “testimony of the hard work of leaders and staff of the Community.”