Transparency is Key to COVID-19 Budget Allocation: BKSAP
Chairperson of BKSAP of the Indonesian House Fadli Zon. Photo : Runi/Man
The increase in budget allocation and budget deficit could leave room for possible misspending and corruption, Chair of the Committee for Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation of the Indonesian House (BKSAP), Fadli Zon, warned. Besides, he added, the House is now facing challenges with its work mechanism during this time of crisis and with fewer roles it plays after the government uses its emergency authorities. He stressed that budget transparency was an important key.
Mr. Zon made the statement at the International Webinar on Parliament’s Role in Monitoring COVID-19 Budget, held by the BKSAP and Westminster Foundation for Democracy on Wednesday (8/7/2020). Legislator Puteri Anetta Komarudin also joined the event.
“We need to discuss multiple challenges ranging from budget policy making during the time of crisis, parliamentary approval of loan schemes, to the oversight of budget disbursement and verification whether the stimulus package goes to the right people. Transparency, in this regard, is vital,” he asserted.
Fadli Zon’s statement was met with assent from the webinar panelists. Among these panelists was Geordin Gwyn Hill-Lewis, South African Member of Parliament who shared Mr. Zon’s opinion regarding the importance of budget transparency in loan management. In his statement, he shared how the soaring national debt of South Africa would potentially become unsustainable and make an irreparable impact at any time.
"This is why transparency is key to regaining public trust in state budget management. We propose that the Inspectorate General be assigned specifically to monitor all COVID-19-related budgets in real time so that they can intervene, stop, and arrest corruptors if a case of corruption arises. And we have the support from the government on this, "Hill-Lewis asserted.
Meanwhile, another panelist in the webinar, Dr. Inaya Ezzeddine, a Lebanese parliamentarian, was in agreement with Mr. Fadli Zon about the importance of transparency. Ezzeddine explained that, for a country like Lebanon where financial crisis has already taken place before the pandemic, transparency and good governance are certainly of utmost importance. “Thus, we established an anti-corruption institution and got rid of bank secrecy as part of our effort to reform,” Ezzeddine revealed.
The international webinar was attended by MPs from various countries, one of whom was Mr. James Wild, member of the Committee of Public Account of the British House of Common. Moderated by Anthony Smith, Chief Executive of WFD, the webinar provided all panelists with the platform to share their experiences and best practices in the parliamentary works during the pandemic. (pun/sf)