Parliamentary Budget Office

About Parliamentary Budget Offices

A parliamentary budget office can be described as a type of semi-independent fiscal institution that is specifically established to serve the Legislature. 

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development defines a fiscal Institution or council as a “publicly funded entity staffed by non-elected professionals mandated to provide non-partisan oversight of fiscal performance and/or advice and guidance on key aspects of fiscal policy”

It has been observed that parliaments generally lack the necessary information, as well as the technical and analytical capacity to effectively perform their role in the budget process leading to weak oversight and implementation of the budget.  One of the major reasons of creating parliamentary budget offices is therefore to enhance the budget oversight function by providing timely, accurate and objective information on economic and budgetary matters to Members of Parliament. 


Establishment of the Parliamentary Budget Office in Zambia

The Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) in the National Assembly of Zambia was established as a department in 2017 after having operated as an interim office under the Committee Department from 2015. Establishment of the Office has its origins in the reforms that the National Assembly of Zambia embarked on in the late 1990s. One of reform recommendations was that the National Assembly should, to the extent possible hire additional staff who would be able to disaggregate, analyse and critique the Executive’s proposed budget. The momentum to establish the Office was boosted with the launch of the National Planning and Budgeting Policy in 2014.  One of the objectives of the policy is to strengthen the oversight function of the Legislature. There was a further boost in 2014 with the coming on board of the European Union who have been supporting capacity building in the Office. 

Mission Statement

To provide independent, accurate, timely and useful budget information and analysis to Parliament in the scrutiny and oversight of the budget processes and procedures and overall public financial management.



The functions of the Office are to provide the National Assembly with timely, objective and non-partisan analysis and information in connection with the national budget and economy. More specifically, the Office:

  1. prepares analytical briefs on budgetary projections, economic forecasts and macroeconomic objectives submitted to Parliament by the Executive;
  2. conducts analytical studies of specific subjects on public financial management such as financial risks posed by Government sponsored enterprises and financial policies;
  3. analyses budget proposals including money bills  and where appropriate, suggest options in the content or format of such proposals;
  4. generally gives advice to the National Assembly and its committees on the budget and the national economy;
  5. has established relationships with the Treasury and with some national and international organisations, with interest in budgetary and economic matters, as it deems fit for the efficient and effective discharge of its mandate;
  6. undertakes, independently or in collaboration with any appropriate person or institution, any other study or activity likely to assist in carrying out the functions specified in this subsection; and
  7. carries out any other function relating to parliamentary budget oversight as may be requested or initiated by the Office itself.

The primary clients of the Office are parliamentary committees. However, time and resources permitting, individual requests from Members of Parliament are also attended to.