Speaker pushes for parly expansion


Thursday, April 20, 2017 - 09:00
The parliament building will be allocated N$24 million for upgrading and renovations and at the forefront of the lobby is the speaker of the National Assembly, Professor Peter Katjavivi, even though the country is experiencing turbulent economic times.
Katjavivi during his presentation of the 2017/18 financial year insisted that the current Parliament building is inadequate and does not provide sufficient sitting for the entire parliament in the chamber, as well as having inadequate office space for staff and Members of Parliament although the parliament was not full to capacity during the State of the Nation Address. 
“The space within the Parliament does not tally with the increased number of parliamentarians and consequent support services,” said the Speaker.
During the current financial year, the National Assembly has been allocated an amount of over N$110 million for operational costs, while N$24 million is budgeted for development, which includes revamping the building.
“I want to emphasise that Parliament is not like any other government institution and for this matter, most budgetary terminologies used on certain institutional departments do not apply to Parliament,” he stressed. 
Katjavivi further noted that during the last financial year, the budget cuts greatly affected the Committee Services Division and almost brought to a halt its operations.
The 2016/2017 development budget tabled in the National Assembly last year allocated N$2 billion for the construction, renovation and upgrading of the Parliament building, which escalated from N$640 million in 2014. 
The issue of a new Parliament building has been a bone of contention for the past three years, with some civil society organisations and citizens citing wastage by government, especially at a time when the money could be used for more pressing issues. 
The Speaker further informed the house that the renovation of the SADC Parliamentary Forum building, which was supposed to be finished a considerable time ago, was not yet done due to the contractor not delivering on time. 
“I regret to inform this house that the contractor did not deliver on time. The contractor has been given an additional three months to finish the task,” he added.
The SADC Forum building received an allocation of N$3,7 million in the 2015/2016 financial year and this was followed up with an amount N$1 million in the 2016/2017 financial year.T