The Pan-African Parliament (PAP) has appealed to the Permanent Representatives’ Committee (PRC) of the African Union (AU) to consider its current budgetary challenges. The PAP and the PRC are holding a Joint Retreat in Johannesburg, South Africa to reflect on the challenges affecting the effective exercise by the PAP of its mandate within the AU institutional architecture.
H.E Hon. Chief Fortune Z. Charumbira, President of the PAP, made a passionate plea to the members of the PRC to increase the allocated funds and allow PAP to carry out its mandate. “In 2016 the PAP received 12% of the African Union’s (AU) budget. In 2023 we will only be allocated 1.7% of the AU’s annual budget,” H.E Hon. Charumbira said.
In a presentation to African Ambassadors accredited to the AU, Hon. Mohammed Mubaraka Muntaka, Chairperson of the PAP Committee on Monetary and Financial Affairs said the PAP budget has diminished continuously since 2016. “In 2016 the total PAP budget was about USD36 million. That budget has been reduced to less than USD11 million for 2023,” said Hon. Muntaka.
According to Hon. Muntaka, the AU’s budget has grown substantially over the last seven or eight years, while that of the PAP has shrunk, making it extremely difficult to hold parliamentary sessions, partake in missions, and fund committee activities.
“In 2023 our committees will only have a total annual budget of USD45,000, which makes it impossible to travel to countries on fact-finding missions or even to travel in-country. In 2023 there is no budget for missions at all. In addition, the PAP has not had a capital budget since 2021,” said Hon. Muntaka.
The budgetary constraints have placed pressure on the PAP which needs to recruit several new staff members in the next year. In the 2023 budget allocation staff costs have been reduced significantly to just over USD7 million.
“Furthermore, the current budget provides no room for participating in AU activities, which is part of the PAP mandate,” said Hon. Muntaka. There is no way we can carry out our normal activities with the current budget,” he said. Hon. Muntaka added that a budget similar to the one the PAP was allocated before Covid-19 will go a long way in empowering the PAP to fund its necessary functions.
In her response to the presentation given by Hon. Muntaka, Ambassador Ammah A. Twum Amoah, Chairperson of the PRC Sub-Committee on General Supervision and Coordination on Budgetary, Financial and said that she had sympathy for the PAP and understood their position. “We will need to engage all stakeholders, especially the AU’s Secretariat since the budget process is not initiated at the PRC level.”
The ongoing Retreat is expected to produce recommendations on the strategic imperatives that will catalyse the performance of the PAP in the short, medium and long term.