via Chinamasa budget hopelessly small: Parly January 22, 2014 by Veneranda Langa NewsDay
MEMBERS of Parliament yesterday called for an upward revision of the $4,1 billion budget saying Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa’s 2014 budget allocations to most line ministries were inadequate.
The MPs said this during debate on a motion to bring in the Finance Bill which would operationalise the 2014 budget.
Although different portfolio committees presented their reports calling for Chinamasa to solve the issues of underfunding in different ministries, it is highly unlikely that their requests will block passage of the budget.
Chairpersons of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Finance and Economic Planning David Chapfika called for a revision in the 2014 allocation to Parliament saying the meagre allocation of $23 million to the institution would demean its stature.
“Government should ensure adequate funding is provided to Parliament to ensure it is able to do what it was bestowed to do by the new constitution,” said Chapfika.
“The committee feels the allocation to Parliament is demeaning its stature and recommends the ministry should reconsider the vote with a view to increasing it considering the duties bestowed on Parliament by the constitution,” he said. Chairpersons of the small and medium enterprises portfolio committee Dorothy Mangami said the $8,6 million budget to SMEs would hinder economic growth and poverty eradication as the ministry was too underfunded to spearhead meaningful projects.
Other portfolio committees like the environment, water, tourism and hospitality industry chaired by Annastancia Ndhlovu said the gross underfunding of the line ministry would hamper activities by the Environmental Management Agency, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority and Zimbabwe Wildlife Management Authority.
“It means poaching and environmental degradation will thrive and that tourism activities will decline,” Ndhlovu said.
Health portfolio committee chairperson Ruth Labode said government should inherit the $12,4 million debt saddling hospitals as well as the $12,5 million debt at Natpharm which is money owed by the Ministry of Health after failing to pay for drug supplies.
“Government should also revise its concentration on curative instead of preventive measures to diseases because it implies we want to deal with the problem when it happens. Zim Asset document said there will be construction of 1500 clinics and yet the budget provides for construction of only 10 clinics,” Labode said.
On the justice, legal and parliamentary affairs vote, chairperson of the committee Jessie Majome said underfunding to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission will hinder it from meeting its obligations to address issues of the voters roll and to hold by-elections whenever they are necessary.
The defence and home affairs portfolio committees chaired by Clifford Sibanda also said Chinamasa should inherit the $45 million debt accumulated by the Home Affairs ministry to service providers and $44 million debt the Zimbabwe Republic Police owed for rent.
“The ministry should be allowed to continue retaining funds,” Sibanda said.
Other committees are yet to submit their budget analysis reports for the 2014 national budget.