THE marathon budget session of the National Assembly resumes here this morning, after three days of recess.
It is billed a week full of action, judging where the House left off after an eventful threeday debate, during which the MPs debated and endorsed the budgets of the two ministries for FY2017/2018, namely, the President’s office, Regional Administration and Local Government, (TAMISEMI) and that of President’s Office Public Service and Good Governance.
After the traditional morning question-time, the Minister of State, Vice- President’s Office (Union and Environment), Mr January Makamba, is expected to table his ministry’s budget estimates for the 2017/2018 fiscal year.
The minister is likely to shed some light on fate of the liquor packed in plastic sachets popularly known as ‘viroba’ – which were subject of a ‘total ban’ in the wake of a serious crackdown campaign from March 1 this year.
Thereafter, the government formed a national taskforce to enforce the ban on sachet-packed liquor and remove the packets out of the market altogether. The measures were taken in consideration of the environmental regulations.
The Prime Minister, Mr Kassim Majaliwa, also issued a strong warning that anyone found with that alcohol would face the music.
Effectively, all production and packaging of alcoholic drinks in plastic sachets, or the ubiquitous ‘viroba’ were reportedly denying the government a whopping 600bn/- in foregone revenues, annually, due to tax evasions.
At the time, Mr Makamba revealed further that the government was currently drafting regulations on the packaging of hard liquors, requiring producers, among others, to pack the drinks in returnable bottles of not less than 250 milligrams.
The estimates will be debated for at least a day before the Minister for Constitution and Legal Affairs, Prof Palamagamba Kabudi – a newcomer from the academia -- tables his budget – whose estimates will also be debated for one day - on Tuesday - before giving room to the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication, slated for two days - Thursday and Friday.