A delegation comprising nine Finnish Members of Parliament from the Finance Committee, led by Ms. Krista Mikkonen and accompanied by Finnish Ambassador to Zambia, Her Excellency Ms. Saana Halinen, undertook a diplomatic exchange visit to the National Assembly of Zambia on Monday, 11th March, 2023 at Parliament Buildings. The purpose of the visit was to share best practices and experiences in accountability and oversight with their Zambian counterpart, specifically the Planning and Budgeting Committee.

The delegation met with the Speaker of the National Assembly of Zambia, the Right Honourable Ms. Nelly B.K Mutti, MP, FAPRA, prior to their engagement with the committee to discuss issues of common interest, including strengthening of bilateral relations through increased cooperation across various initiatives. Other topics included Zambia's legislative efforts towards gender parity in Parliament and support for the differently abled. Additionally, trade discussions focused on sustainable and environmentally friendly sectors such as mining, agriculture and forestry, as well as considerations in meteorology, the circular economy and education.

Speaking during the meeting, Speaker Mutti placed emphasis on the pivotal role of parliamentary oversight in ensuring transparent and accountable governance. She expressed optimism regarding the outcomes of the scheduled interactions between the Finnish delegation and the Planning and Budgeting Committee.

Meanwhile Ms. Mikkonen conveyed gratitude for the warm reception and reaffirmed Finland's commitment to fostering cooperation in governance and economic development. She highlighted the mutual benefits of knowledge-sharing, emphasizing its potential to bolster transparency, accountability, and efficiency in public resource management.

And later in the day, the delegation met with their counterparts from the Planning and Budgeting Committee, chaired by Honourable Fred Chaatila who provided a detailed briefing to the high level delegation regarding the establishment and responsibilities of the Planning and Budgeting Committee.

Hon Chaatila further highlighted the challenges encountered in scrutinising the national budget to ensure that the budget priorities are consistent with the national development plans, procedures and processes.

The meeting also provided an opportunity for delegates to inquire about Zambia's management of public debt, the impact of climate change on the country's economy, and initiatives put in place to preserve the country's wealth for future generations.

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