MEPT brings together Parliamentarians to reflect on budget allocation criteria in the education sector
Sarmento Preço, member of MEPT, delivering recommendations for a greater budgetary allocation in the area of education to the deputies and the Ministry of Economy and Finance
The Mozambican national coalition (MEPT) held a roundtable with Parliamentarians on education financing on April 3rd at Pestana Rovuma Hotel. The aim of the meeting was to raise awareness among Parliamentarians and the government on equitable allocation and transparent management of the basic education budget through the sharing of the current working conditions of some schools in Zambezia province in the districts of Namacurra and Mocuba.
Ms. Alsacia Chochoma, a Deputy member of the Parliamentary Committee on Planning and Budget, acknowledged that there is a need to review budget allocation criteria in each sector, particularly in the area of education and health. The Deputy said, "It was good that the MEPT shared some examples of the situation of schools in the province of Zambézia, which I think will influence our thinking in discussions related to priorities in the budget allocation".
Silvério Ronguane, a member of the same Parliamentary Committee, was of the opinion that "Education should be the responsibility of Municipalities, which should identify priorities and strategies for solutions in case of any kind of concern."
According to UNICEF et al. (2015) the lack of a clear and strong policy for budget allocation between priority sectors and between provinces and per student reduces investment in critical areas such as infrastructure, equipment and didactic material.
"I think that the question of priorities should be at the top of issues to be discussed when deciding budget allocations. Who defines the priorities?" Asked Sarmento Preço, a member of MEPT.
In response to the above question, Nádia Hassamo, representative of the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF), said that "priorities are defined by each sector, meaning the Ministry of Education and Human Development (MINEDH) is the one that defines its priorities. Finances only provide value depending on the sector’s definitions and the availability of funds ". Noting that, "In the particular case of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the multidimensional index of poverty and number of inhabitants per province has been one of the criteria for budget allocation."
Although the sector has made significant progress in recent years in improving access, gender equality, and hiring and training teachers, there are still major challenges, mainly related to equitable budget allocation, efficiency and effectiveness in management of funds and accountability. Given the concern with these issues, MEPT shared the following recommendations with Deputies to overcome the problems that still persist in education:
- Continued prioritisation in the increase of the internal budget for the investment component of the sector, reaffirming in this way the commitment and capacity of the government to sustainably ensure the progressive internal financing to the sector;
- When the General State Budget is approved, the Assembly of the Republic must ensure that the budget responds to the real needs sent by the provinces;
- The allocation of the budget to the education sector must increasingly take gender issues into account, thus stimulating girls' education.
It should be noted that this roundtable falls within the scope of the project "Promoting the participation of citizens and civil society organisations in ensuring transparency and accountability in budget allocations for basic education", implemented by MEPT, with the support of USAID and Counterpart International, and focusing on Zambézia province in the districts of Mocuba and Namacurra.