The Mozambican parliament has approved next year’s revised annual state budget in the amount of $4.92 billion by 138 votes to 88 during the first reading of a full bench debate. All the deputies present from the ruling Frelimo Party voted in favour of the budget, while both opposition parties, Renamo and the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), voted against it.
Thursday’s voting procedure caused a dispute, since the parliamentary chairperson, Veronica Macamo, called for a vote on the budget but not on the government’s Economic and Social Plan for 2016.
Both documents were debated in the house simultaneously in the past two days.
Renamo pointed out that Macamo was breaking with precedent, since in the past the plan has always been voted on before the budget.
Renamo deputy Jose Samo Gudo described the vote as a fraud which collides with the norms of this house.
He added: It is wrong to vote on the budget law before voting on the plan because the budget is the financial expression of the plan.
He claimed that logic thus determined that the plan be voted on first.
Samo Gudo threatened that Renamo would take this issue to the Constitutional Council, the highest body in matters of constitutional law.
Both the plan and the budget will come back to the Assembly plenary next week, for a final reading and vote.
The budget has already been amended by a series of alterations proposed by the Assembly’s Plan and Budget Commission (CPO).
The Minister of Economy and Finance, Adriano Maleiane, reportedly said the government has accepted all these changes.
The amended budget scales back the 2016 public expenditure and the amount of revenue the state expects to collect, and ends up with a smaller deficit before grants than was the case with the earlier version.
Resources, including domestic debt raised through the issue of treasury bonds, cover 74.8 percent of total planned expenditure, and foreign aid will cover the remaining 25.2 percent.
60 per cent of the foreign resources are expected to be loans and 40 percent grants.