via Opposition blasts government over Diaspora remittances – NewsDay Zimbabwe December 8, 2015
OPPOSITION parties yesterday blasted the Zanu PF government of rushing to tap into remittances by thousands of Zimbabweans in the Diaspora without providing them with a platform to participate in local elections.
by VENERANDA LANGA
Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa in his 2016 National Budget last month projected that Diasporan remittances would contribute about $960 million to the fiscus, adding a National Diaspora Policy was in the offing.
“Official Diaspora remittances have been growing from $300 million in 2009 to more than $800 million in 2014, and are projected at about $960 million in 2016,” he said.
“In order to take advantage of this potential financing source, government will finalise the National Diaspora Policy, which seeks to provide a comprehensive framework for harnessing Diaspora remittances.”
But MDC-T spokesperson, Obert Gutu said it was surprising how government wanted to benefit from the same people they were disenfranchising.
“Zimbabweans are all over the world and they have been playing a sterling role in ensuring the economy does not collapse through their remittances which are almost $1 billion, which is 25% of the $4 billion 2016 National Budget announced by Chinamasa,” he said.
“If we want to have their money, why are we dividing them when it comes to voting? The excuse that government does not have capacity to ensure a Diaspora vote is not honest.”
Gutu said other Sadc countries like Mozambique always ensured their people in the Diaspora voted, adding government only needed to implement the Constitution and come up with administrative structures that are not costly to ensure people in the Diaspora registered to vote through their respective embassies.
People’s Democratic Party spokesperson Jacob Mafume said Zimbabwe would be getting billions from the Diaspora if government respected the people there.
“Government cannot expect the Diaspora to remit money and not have a say on how that money should be used in the national fiscus. There is no coherent policy on Diaspora remittances. Government is in the habit of taking from their citizens and not giving back. It is a vampire like relationship. What they need to do is to allow them a chance to vote because they are the major builders of houses and contribute significantly to the economy,” Mafume said.