Invest in Malawi youth, UNICEF urges parliamentarians

UNICEF Malawi has urged parliamentarians to ensure that more resources are invested into the youth, especially in areas of nutrition, health, education and protection, saying such investment has lasting impacts to children, communities and the entire nation.

Speaker Gotani Hara talks with UNICEF Country Deputy Representative, Tedla Damte
Some MPs at the reception

UNICEF Country Deputy Representative, Tedla Damte made the remarks Thursday in Lilongwe during a reception for committee Members of Parliament who were undergoing parliamentary orientation.

He said as various stakeholders look forward to the 2019/20 Budget, there are high expectations that Parliament will continue to advocate for more and better spending on children and their families.

“It is the core mandate of Parliament to ensure that adequate resources are mobilized, equitably allocated and effectively utilized to benefit all children. It is also their responsibility to hold ministries and departments accountable for the resources they are given.

“We will periodically assess if budgets are sufficient, at least to meet essential costs to progressively realize children’s rights, if budgets are equitable, efficient, effective and transparent,” he said.

Damte said investing in the youth has the potential to lead Malawi into a sustainable growth and development.

As such, the UNICEF Country Deputy Representative urged parliamentarians to implement a motion passed by the last cohort of Parliamentarians to ensure that for every meeting of parliament there is time set aside to deliberate on children issues.

He said the orientation workshop for committee members was important because committees play an important role in engaging the UN and Parliamentarians.

“Our participation in this orientation workshop, as various UN Agencies, is in recognition that parliament plays a crucial role in fostering good governance, democracy, peace and stability.

“It is through the committees that Parliament can delve deep into issues affecting children, young people, women and men in Malawi because in the main house, there is often limited time to debate complex issues in detail,” he said.

Some of the areas that UNICEF has prioritized to work with committee members include legislation, making budget work for all including children, support to and engagement with the Parliamentary Budget Office, good governance and public engagements, girls and women empowerment, resilience building and climate change Mitigation and Adaptation.

Speaker of Parliament, Catherine Gotani Hara in her remarks said the role of drafting the budget is in the hands of government and parliamentarians.

“I as the speaker am the presiding officer. I cannot bring a law into the house nor change the budget. This lobbying is going to government and the Members of Parliament themselves.

“But when budget is being presented to the house by the Minister of Finance, it will be up to the Members of Parliament to see if, where possible, they can change allocations, add or subtract.

“But I will preside over what Members of Parliament will bring in terms of what UNICEF wants to be considered,” said Hara.

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