ED’s travel budget dwarfs key ministries’ allocations

Source: ED’s travel budget dwarfs key ministries’ allocations – NewsDay Zimbabwe December 18, 2017

TRAVEL costs for the Office of the President and Cabinet, though slashed by half from the previous regime’s uncontrolled travel budget that kept former President Robert Mugabe “airborne”, remain too high compared to budget allocations for line ministries that are expected to lead the country’s economic revival.

by Veneranda Langa

According to the 2018 estimates of expenditure tabled before Parliament by Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa, travel expenses for the OPC were slashed by $15 million to $17 million.

Records from the estimates of expenditure (Blue Book) show that between January and September 2017, the OPC had gobbled $32 113 258 in travel expenses.

Although the government has budgeted to cut down on foreign travel and spend $17 million in 2018, the travel budget is still far higher than budgets of key ministries that need to revive the economy like Tourism, which was allocated $5 138 000, Mines $6 522 000, and Energy and Power Development $13 323 000.

Chinamasa indicated in his 2018 budget statement that he would introduce cost-cutting-measures on government travel and other luxuries by top officials.

“Experience has shown that Zimbabwe delegations to regional and international fora are among the largest from the region at such gatherings, and, therefore, as part of approval of Cabinet authorities for external travel, the OPC, and Treasury will be enforcing rationalisation of the size of delegations, in compliance with this new requirement, without exception,” he said when presenting the 2018 budget.

Chinamasa said fewer senior government officials will be travelling in business class in order to cut down on air travel expenses.

Parliament was allocated $57 million in 2018, yet MPs feel the Legislature deserves as much as $100 million.

Opposition MDC-T chief whip, Innocent Gonese said Parliament’s paltry budget allocation would stifle implementation of various programmes by the legislature in 2018.

“We are not happy about the $57 million Parliament of Zimbabwe allocation because we are an arm of the State, whose main functions are watchdog. Parliament needs a budget of $100 million,” he said.