New regional model law sets the bar high for public financial management in southern Africa
With the adoption of its Model Law on Public Financial Management in July 2022, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Parliamentary Forum (PF), at its 51st Plenary Assembly, has set a new gold standard for public financial management across the 16 member states of SADC.
The PSA Alliance provided critical advice to SADC PF in developing the model law, as members of a technical working group, which involved participation from both state and civil society actors. The PSA Alliance members Public Service Accountability Monitor (PSAM), SAfAIDS, and ActionAid International, provided advice during technical working group meetings as well as during multiple consultations hosted by SADC PF.
In adopting the model law, SADC PF seeks to revitalise and modernise the PFM frameworks of SADC member states. The law pushes parliaments to provide adequate and timely oversight to ensure financially transparent, accountable and efficient governance. It also provides pathways for parliaments to interrogate governmental measures and investment relating to agriculture, gender or health in the budget and demand explanations on the fulfilment of the related SDGs 2,3 or 5 as well as realisation of the priorities under Agenda 2063.
The model law is already serving as a critical advocacy tool in the region. Zimbabwe is in the process of reviewing its PFM law. Malawi has also recently approved a PFM Act, following pressure from various stakeholders, including the PSA Alliance, on the need for approved guidelines for budget consultations.
In the coming months, the PSA Alliance will be working with SADC PF to develop a scorecard to allow member states to assess the alignment of their national legislation with the PFM Model Law.