Speaker of the National Assembly Catherine Gotani Hara yesterday refused to grant Leader of Opposition in Parliament Kondwani Nankhumwa his wish to extend time for Mid-Year Budget Review Statement responses.
Taking the floor after Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs Simplex Chithyola Banda presented the statement in Parliament, Nankhumwa said the minister took over one and a half hours and, therefore, it would help to waive the Standing Orders to allow political parties more than 30 minutes to give responses.
But in response, the Speaker said the House is guided by Standing Orders, as such, extension of time would mean amending the guidelines.
“We cannot change this. It is in the Standing Orders. It means we have to change the Standing Orders,” she said.
Hara also disputed the claim that the budget statement presentation took long, saying the House has ever witnessed longer presentations.
In an interview after the meeting, Nankhumwa said he is fully aware of the stipulation of the Standing Orders, but insisted that it would help to extend the time for comprehensive responses.