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The purpose of this paper is to explore the role of budgeting in the monitoring functions of the Tanzanian Parliament, specifically the monitoring functions of the Parliamentary Budget Committee (PBC).Design/methodology/approachThe paper uses Burchell et al.’s (1980) accounting “machines” framework and its development as a theoretical lens to interpret the research findings. Interviews, document analysis and observation were used for data collection.FindingsThe findings reveal that budget documents were used as learning and answering machines, as they served as the basis for questioning, for checking variances, for reviewing and for conducting monitoring visits. Budgeting procedures were utilized as ammunition machines, as they were used as the basis for expressing legislative officials’ positions and understanding the logic of executive officials’ actions.Research limitations/implicationsThe paper investigates the role of budgeting in a parliamentary setting. However, comparative analysis is missing. Nevertheless, the results provide a foundation for future studies and the opportunity to investigate the role of budgeting in the monitoring functions of other parliaments, especially in emerging economies.Practical implicationsThe study has practical implications directed toward governments, especially in emerging economies. This study suggests that budgeting documents and procedures can be used to overcome the complexities of the PBC monitoring functions. Budgeting is, therefore, essential in the monitoring functions of the PBC, especially in emerging economies.Originality/valueThe study contributes to the understanding of the role of budgeting in monitoring functions in a parliamentary setting in emerging economies, where such research is lacking. The study also contributes by introducing an “ammunition” role to the theoretical literature on budget use (Simons, 1990, 1991; Abernethy and Brownell, 1999), which is argued to be relevant to politicians and organizations of a political nature, including parliaments.
Journal of Accounting in Emerging Economies – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 2, 2019
Keywords: Monitoring; Tanzania; Budgeting; Parliament; Budget committee
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