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MBABANE – The total budget for the State Opening of Parliament cost the taxpayer about E1 million.  A well-placed source revealed that the figure was almost similar to that of last year, although this year, major renovations had to be carried out, especially on the Parliament canteen roofing and drainage system.

In 2018, the amount spent was E1.3 million and this shows a reduction of about E300 000. However, the local Parliament could have learnt a lesson or two from its counterparts in South Africa, where the State of The Nation Address (SONA) by President Cyril Ramaphosa budget was cut by at least 47 per cent, according to Parliamentary Spokesperson Moloto thaba as quoted on SABC News.

The major savings came from the fact that the SA Parliament opted against having the gala dinner, which normally takes place after the president has made his speech.

Last week Friday, Parliament was officially opened by His Majesty King Mswati III and well-placed sources have revealed that a total of E1 million was spent or budgeted for during the first session of the 11th Parliament. A bulk of the money over the years is normally allocated to the catering services.  This year the catering in the marquee just like the previous two years, was awarded to Royal Swazi Spa, where the luncheon was held.

Meanwhile, in Eswatini, Parliament greatly reduced the number of invitation cards which were sent to invited guests, as this was very evident in the Public Gallery where no extra chairs were provided and there was even space between the guests unlike in previous years where they would be packed like sardines.   

In SA, according to the South African News Agency, this year’s event was said to be the cheapest in five years, as the legislature was taking every feasible step to do more with fewer resources and it meant less glitz for the important political event, known for its red-carpet treatment of politicians.

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