via No money to pay fees for diplomats’ kids 18/01/2014 NehandaRadio
THE Ministry of Foreign Affairs has warned that it might fail to pay school fees for children of diplomats stationed abroad because of the lack of funds.
Joey Bimha, secretary for Foreign Affairs, told a post-budget meeting held last week that the $63.8 million allocated to the Ministry in the country’s 2014 budget was well short of requirements.
Zimbabwe was actually in arrears in terms of payment of salaries and school fees for children of diplomats at the various embassies with officials forced to use their resources.
“The underfunding of the goods and services vote is going to reduce my ministry’s ability to provide training to our staff, holding of joint commissions and most important, provision of school fees for foreign service officers’ children attending school in Zimbabwe,” Bimha said.
“The ministry’s plant and machinery, office equipment and the general buildings outlook have suffered years of neglect due to lack of inadequate funding.”
Bimha said the ministry was the face of Zimbabwe and it was, therefore, paramount that it portrayed a good image to the international community.
In the past, foreign missions have faced financial constraints due to lack of under-funding by the government with some ambassadors reportedly not having vehicles for their missions.
“Over the last 10 years we have never increased salaries of our diplomats because of the problems we are facing. We have never paid them any bonuses because the situation we are in does not warrant that,” Bimha said.
“We are running an expensive bill in maintaining vehicles because most of them are old. I was ambassador in France between 1995 and 2000 and had a new car bought for me in 1996 and it is the same car that the current ambassador is still using. It has become a hazard.”
“In the year that Zimbabwe will host the regional SADC Summit, the image of the ministry needs to be representative of who we are, not as a ministry, but as the country,” Bimha said.