BY METHEMBE SIBANDA
FINANCE minister Mthuli Ncube was last Thursday grilled by Members of Parliament for failing to disburse budgetary funds to critical ministries such as health, which are struggling to fund their activities.
Legislators accused Ncube of allocating only 14% or $117,7 billion of the 2022 budget to the Health ministry, resulting in the ministry struggling to fund its operations.
Bulawayo proportional representation MP, Jasmine Toffa (CCC) said: “The point here minister is that the Ministry of Health has only received 14% of the 2022 budget… meaning that the funds are being eaten away by inflation. So, our concern as a committee (on Health and Child Care) is that the Ministry of Health is not getting the funding timeously,” Toffa said.
Harare North MP Allan Markham (CCC) added: “Can the minister confirm that the Ministry of Health has received all the money that they have asked for? That is my point of clarity.”
Markham said when the 2022 budget was crafted, the foreign currency parallel rate was $200, while the official rate was $85.
“The cost of goods has now risen, and in other words, it means that the 14% allocation to the Ministry of Health is now nothing. If the Health ministry got everything they required, then they should already have got 50% of their allocation by June,” Markham said.
In response, Ncube said: “The Ministry of Health is receiving its funding timeously and we will continue to do so. As Ministry of Finance, we will always respond to whatever request any ministry presses upon us and we respond timeously. Unless of course we have cashflow challenges, which happens from time to time, but I can assure you that we are responding timeously to that very important ministry. I can confirm that the Ministry of Health has received all the resources that it has asked for from Treasury timeously.”
Ncube’s $117, 7 billion budget towards health still falls short of the 15% threshold stipulated by the Abuja Declaration. The 2022 national budget is $968,2 billion.