The Speaker of the National Assembly, Right Honourable Catherine Gotani Hara, MP today opened the Public Hearing on Social Sector allocations in the 2020/2021 budget describing it as a crucial process aimed at incorporating views of the public on the budget.
The hearing has brought together 5 Parliamentary Committees and representatives of civil society in the health, agriculture, child rights, education and gender sectors.
The public hearing has provided a platform where stakeholders share perspectives on substantive issues that are to be clarified with ministries and departments and taken on board before the budget is approved.
In her remarks, the Speaker said it is important that Members of Parliament hear from the intended beneficiaries of the Budget, which are the people of Malawi themselves.
“Ideally to hear these views the cluster Committees should be spread across the country but due to time and financial constraints, we are unable to do this. We are however able to convene an open day like this one to hear people’s views through civil society organisations, ” she said.
The Speaker added that 2020 has shaped a new way of life and a new way of thinking for Malawians.
“Gone are the days where the voices of the people were pushed aside and disregarded by those in position of influence. Gone are the times when the citizenry only “awoke” during the election year. Today, all of us can attest to the fact that, the citizenery is awake and hungry to participate in all decision affecting their lives,” she said.
The public hearing was conducted with support from UNICEF, National Democratic Institute and USAID.
*Additional pictures courtesy of UNICEF and NDI.