Maputo — The Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, on Monday approved its own budget for 2013 of 815.5 million meticais (2.72 million US dollars).
The largest item is the wages of the deputies, which will consume 250.9 million meticais. This sum gives the deputies an average wage of 2,800 US dollars a month each, at current exchange rates.
Total expenditure in wages, allowances and other expenditure on the deputies and Assembly staff members comes to just short of 570 million meticais. The Assembly plans to spend 150 million meticais on goods and services, and 30.6 million on current transfers (including membership fees for international organisations). The capital budget, mostly for expenditure on Assembly buildings, is 65 million meticais.
The 164 deputies present from the ruling Frelimo Party voted in favour of the budget, while 40 deputies from the former rebel movement Renamo and six from the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) abstained.
Renamo deputy Alberto Sabe declared that Renamo was abstaining “because the Assembly budget is used for political party purposes”, while basic running costs are neglected to such as extent that “the Assembly sometimes runs out of paper”.
For the MDM, James Djinji complained that the Assembly’s hands were tied, because the budget is essentially fixed by the government. “The Assembly has no autonomy in setting its budget”, he said, suggesting that in future the Assembly should decide on its budget months in advance of the general state budget.
But Frelimo saw no alternative to the current system of negotiating with the government, within the narrow confines of the general state budget. “We recognise the efforts made by the government to fill the gaps in the Assembly’s budget”, declared Frelimo deputy Pedro Virgula.