Speech for the Samoa Parliament Financial Oversight Workshop - Moana Luamanuvae, OIC

13 Nov 2013

O le a taoto ia faamaene o tailoloto sa ma faiga o le malae i Tiafau, o le malae o le faautugatagi a Tumua ma Pule. Oute Faatulou i le paia ua sasao nei. Lau susuga ile taitai ole sauniga. Faatulou foi i paia o le Fono usu a Samoa. Lau afioga i le Fofogafetalai o le maota, Le afio o lau Afioga I le Sui Palemia. Afioga i Minisita ole Kapeneta. Afio foi lau afioga i le Taitai o le Itu e Agaia le Malo. Mamalu maualuga i sui usufono o le Palemene o Samoa. Susu sui o Malo mai fafo ole a faafeagai ma lenei polokalame. Lau afioga ile Failautusi ole Fono ma le aufaigaluega, Le paia lasilasi ua potopoto.

O lele ua sausau fia lele le manu sa moe afusia, ina ua laolao i ao le tafola aua ua fisaga le matagi i le alofa ma le agalelei o lo tatou Tapaau i le Lagi. I le agaga faaaloalo oute faatalofa atu ai i lenei taeao matagofie. Talofa Lava.
Talu ai o lo o filogia le mamalu o sasao nei i e le malamalama ile tatou gagana, o lea o le a faaauau ai le lauga ale UNDP ile gagana tatou te malamalama uma ai.

Honourable Speaker, 
Honourable Deputy Prime Minister and honourable members of Parliament.
Hon Rob Oakeshott, Former Member of the Australian Parliament
Hon Trevor Mallard, Current Member of Parliament, New Zealand
Hon Bendon Burns, Former Member of Parliament for Christchurch NZ
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.

It is an honour and personal privilege to be here on behalf of UNDP to officially open this workshop on Financial Oversight.  This event has been arranged and funded by the UNDP Pacific Centre and is being held within the framework of the UNDP Samoa Parliamentary Support Project (SPSP).  The aim of this project is to work with the Office of the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly (OCLA) to strengthen the core functions of the Samoa Parliament and ensure that the Parliament can fulfil its law making, representation and oversight functions.  It is in support of the oversight function, that we are here today.

The parliamentary oversight function is one of parliament’s democratic roles and cornerstones of democracy, ensuring that the government implements policies and programs in accordance with the wishes and intent of the legislature. Parliament undertakes this oversight function ex ante and post ante. Ex ante thru overseeing the preparation of a given policy, and post ante thru overseeing the execution and the implementation of a given policy. Oversight suggests that it is the duty of parliamentarians to require the Executive Branch to follow the rules related to financial operations, and for the government to openly report to Parliament on its exercise of the Executive’s powers and public resources granted by parliament. The robust monitoring and oversight of the executive by parliament will discourage corruption, and is an indicator of good governance. 

It is one of the key powers of the Parliament that it must every year approve the national budget, and thru the exercise of this power, Parliament can play a key role in ensuring that the budget process is transparent and participatory. We heard Reverend reminding us this morning, that if power is abused, people will perish. 

Parliamentarians are representatives of and give voice to citizens and voters. Hence, the challenge for parliamentarians is to use their financial oversight function to ensure that the needs of all citizens, particularly the poor and other vulnerable groups, are not only heard, but met through the delivery of well-designed government programs and services.  
In terms of scrutinising government spending, the role of the Public Accounts Committee, as well as other mechanisms within Parliament is central in making the executive branch account. Regardless of the country, the ultimate aim of all Parliaments in terms of oversight of expenditure is to benefit the nation by improving the economy, efficiency and effectiveness of government expenditure. This workshop will hear from direct experiences in New Zealand and Australia in this regard.  

In closing, I would like to thank the Clerk of Parliament and his staff for working with UNDP to arrange this workshop.  We are delighted that we have managed to bring together some important resource people from not only the Parliament of New Zealand and Australia but also from UNODC the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, and from PASAI – The Pacific Association of Supreme Audit Institutions.  

I am confident that this workshop today will not only be informative but will also be a significant step on the road towards making the Parliament of Samoa increasingly effective in implementing its oversight mandate. On behalf of UNDP, I wish you all the best with your discussions today.

SOIFUA