Source: ‘Budget must prioritise social services’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe October 6, 2017
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has been urged to cut his huge Cabinet and reduce the defence budget in order to channel more resources to critical areas such as health, education and other social services.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
Speaking at Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Finance-organised 2018 pre-budget consultations meeting in Harare on Wednesday, Harare resident, Leah Gave, said the Defence ministry should not get the biggest allocation every year because the country is not at war.
“Government must ensure they support students with grants because they are suffering and end up getting into prostitution because the cost of education is too high, yet, the government keeps supporting the Defence ministry through high budgetary allocations, as if the country purchases arms of war every month. We need the biggest allocations to go to education and health,” she said.
Kudzai Mutambara said Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa should stop pampering ministers and legislators with luxuries.
“Ministers and MPs are mopping up the budget through the expensive cars. Our recommendation is that Chinamasa must cut extravagance and recommend vehicles such as Toyota Raum and Vitz, or Honda Fits for MPs and ministers. These only cost $50 from Japan and the country can save a lot of money that can go towards health and education,” Mutambara said.
Women in Politics Support Unit executive director, Sakhile Sifelani-Ngoma said there was need for disclosure and accountability on the utilisation of statutory funds.
She cited a fee charged at border posts, which is said to be for the Anti Human Trafficking Fund.
“However, whenever there is a human trafficking problem and people need to be assisted, we are told that there is no money, yet there is a fund for that. We need transparency and accountability in terms of how statutory funds are used,” Sifelani Ngoma said.
Clever Utete, a writer and lecturer at Zimbabwe Open University, said Chinamasa should introduce $5 and $2 bond coins instead of paper money in order to end hoarding of cash.
“No dealer or trader can move around with bags or carts full of coins and it is the only way to fight hoarding of cash by cash barons. Buhera South MP, Joseph Chinotimba made the suggestion in Parliament and people laughed at him, but that is the only way to deal with cash barons,” he said.
Henry Makura, a human resources consultant, said: “Chinamasa must consider the adoption of the South African rand to solve the cash problems in the country.”
Most women that contributed called for the scrapping of maternal fees and that sanitary wear be for free at schools in order to improve attendance of girls at schools and improve reproductive health issues.