THE All People's Party's (APP's) sole representative in the National Assembly (NA), Ignatius Shixwameni, has called on the House to shorten the second reading debate on the national budget to speed up its adoption.
In his contribution during the debate on the 2013/14 Appropriation Bill this week, Shixwameni said valuable time is lost through protracted debates in both houses of parliament.
"This time could have been used to start to implement some of the development projects provided for in the budget," he said, adding that it is imperative to pass the budget by April 1.
He made various suggestions for implementation, including a joint session of parliament during budget debates.
Shixwameni proposed that a budget caucus committee be established to meet either just before or after the budget is tabled in parliament to iron out any major differences.
He said thereafter only a limited number of parliamentarians from both Houses should be given an opportunity to speak.
He questioned the logic of having many Swapo parliamentarians speak during the budget debate.
The Swapo Party is allocated 605 minutes of speaking time during the second reading stage of the budget debate, while the official opposition Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) is allotted 345 minutes, the DTA of Namibia, the United Democratic Front (UDF) and Nudo 90 minutes each and the APP, Congress of Democrats (CoD), Swanu of Namibia and Republican Party (RP) 45 minutes each.
The next phase of the budget debate, the third reading where each budget vote is discussed separately, will start on April 4 and last until April 19 before the Appropriation Bill is sent to the National Council for further deliberations.
Shixwameni's suggestions seemed to have received widespread support from across the political divide, as many MPs could be seen nodding in agreement.