‘Budget is the most important economic policy tool’

Acting Secretary-General to Parliament, Viniana Namosimalua delivering her opening remarks. Picture: SUPPLIED

THE Fijian Parliament has come a long way in recent years in terms of raising public awareness and access to information.

Acting Secretary-General to Parliament, Viniana Namosimalua said this while opening the second day of the workshop on the 2019-2020 National Budget Briefing for Civil Society Organisations held last Friday.

“It now uses a modern website interface and has new mobile apps that can be downloaded on mobile phones and tablets so citizens can access information about the Parliament’s work,” Mrs Namosimalua said.

She said the Budget is the most important economic policy tool of the Government and provides a comprehensive statement of the nation’s priorities.

Therefore Parliament, as the representative of the people, is the appropriate place to ensure that the Budget best matches the nation’s needs with available resources.

“However, while putting Parliamentary information out there is essential, making that information more easily accessible and ‘digestible’ is just as important. This is where today’s workshop comes in,” she said.

The Parliament Secretariat, through the Research and Library Services provide annual budget briefs designed to assist Members of Parliament (MPs) comprehend the National Budget.

The briefs are intended to be “easy-to-understand information” to assist MPs be well-informed before their weeklong Budget deliberation from today, Monday 17 to Friday 21, June 2019.

“The budget is for the whole of the country, all sectors and institutions and communities across the country. The more information that is made available to citizens and civil society organizations, the more open and transparent our governance systems become.

“The global Sustainable Development Goals, the SDGs, talk about this very issue. SDG 16 makes explicit reference to the aim of making national institutions, such as Parliaments, transparent and accountable,” Mrs Namosimalua said.

The workshop was made possible through the support of the Parliament’s development partner, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and its project donors, the Governments of New Zealand, Japan and Australia and the European Union.

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