The independence of South Sudan in 2011 provided a positive juncture for sustainable peace, good governance and economic stability through institutional development. In this context, AWEPA is implementing a two-year capacity building programme in the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) and the State Assemblies through general and specialised trainings, technical consultancies, study visits and attachments, legislative support, participation in parliamentary conferences, community outreach programmes, media involvement, and the dissemination of publications.
The focus of this programme is to remedy the weak legislative regime in the Assembly, strengthen organisational systems and procedures, improve inadequate human resource management policies, and encourage comprehensive participation of citizens and civil society organisations.
The objective of the programme is to contribute towards the achievement of meaningful participatory leadership, good governance, accountability and improved service delivery in South Sudan by means of an effective legislature. Specifically, the programme is in place to improve the capacity of the South Sudan NLA and the ten State Assemblies to respond to the challenges they face while enacting their legislative, oversight and representative functions.
Type of activities
One activity which is representative of this programme was the technical support for budget analysis and scrutiny provided for the Committee on Economy, Development and Finance from 4 to 26 July 2013.
AWEPA engaged experts in parliamentary budget scrutiny, analysis and public finance management to provide technical support in budget analysis and scrutiny to the South Sudan NLA. The ultimate goal was that of enhancing the Assembly’s ability to rationally consider, debate and appropriate national resources. Twenty-five members of the Committee on Economy, Development and Finance were the direct beneficiaries of this technical support.
The main objective of this activity was to provide the NLA with the much needed skills and techniques they require to effectively conduct budget scrutiny and analysis, especially with the problem of severe under-staffing in the Assembly’s Department of Parliamentary Budget. In particular, the training included scrutiny of the revenue side of the budget, including the Finance Bill, and scrutiny of the expenditure side of the budget.
Furthermore, the training incorporated a comparative analysis of key elements of tax regimes extracted from the other EAC budgets for the financial years 2013-2014, as well as support to the Committee in preparing a final report on the budget that was to be presented to House for consideration and appropriation.
This activity did not only enable MPs and parliamentary staff to gain skills for budget scrutiny and analysis, but also facilitated the production of several budget-related reports that enabled parliamentarians to conduct their budget oversight role more effectively. This improved capacity will contribute to a more rational and equitable distribution and utilisation of national resources by the Executive.
- Increased oversight capacity of the Committee on Equation, Science and Technology over Public Universities in Bahr El Ghazel and Upper Nile States of South Sudan;
- Technical support to the Assembly and the Committee on Economy, Development and Finance was provided for scrutiny and analysis of the 2013-2014 budget estimates, through training for MPs and parliamentary staff. Experts were also attached to the Committee to not only support their scrutiny and analysis of the national budget, but also prepare the Committee report for presentation to the Assembly;
- Facilitation of the participation of NLA members in the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA) in view of creating opportunities for South Sudan to join other international and regional parliamentary bodies and fora;
- A study visit for the Committee on Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs of the NLA to Rwanda resulted in a strong commitment from the participants to support and protect human rights defenders and to benchmark practices that will promote rule of law and protection of human rights in South Sudan;
- An assortment of 216 pieces of reference material (textbooks), publications and other relevant reading literature supplied by AWEPA to the NLA. The reading material will serve the purpose of supporting legislative, oversight and representative processes by providing up-to-date reference sources for not only MPs and staff of the South Sudan NLA but also other government institutions and the general public, at large;
- A Handbook on the Nature, Functions and Operations of Parliamentary Committees was developed and published to guide and streamline Committee work;
- Technical support for scrutiny, drafting, review and analysis of bills was provided with a view of improving the capacity of NLA to carry out its legislative functions. This is evidenced by the support provided for consideration of the Parliamentary Service Commission Bill, Labour Bill and the 2013 Constituency Development Fund (Amendment) Bill, and the NGO Bill;
- Support to strengthening of the human resource and administrative capacity of the NLA was provided through the long-term training of five NLA staff;
- Presentation and adoption of the Human Resources Policy Manual by NLA senior officials.