via Mines, Agric ministries not happy with Budget allocations | The Herald January 15, 2014 by Farirai Machivenyika
Mines and Mining Development Secretary Professor Francis Gudyanga (centre) flanked by his chief accountant Mr Mateo Mateo (left) and director Geological Survey Mr Mabasa Hawadi appear before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines in Harare yesterday.
OFFICIALS from the ministries of Mines and Mining Development and of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development yesterday said they were disappointed with the allocations they received in the 2014 National Budget. Finance and Economic Planning Minister Patrick Chinamasa presented a US$4,1 billion Budget in December, where he identified mining and agriculture as critical sectors in economic revival.
Agriculture and mining are key components of Zim-Asset, the country’s five-year development plan.
In oral evidence to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy, Secretary for Mines Professor Francis Gudyanga said the ministry was allocated US$8,6 million, most of which would go to salaries.
“The inadequacy of the 2014 Budget allocation will inevitably reduce the revenue generation capacity of the ministry as it would be an impediment towards of the desired objectives as pronounced in the Zim-Asset and the Budget statement,” he said.
He said the ministry got US$976 000 for its operations out of a requested US$28,79 million.
Prof Gudyanga decried Government’s failure to fund the Mining Promotion Corporation, established to lead exploration of mineral resources, saying this resulted in the country failing to come up with an accurate database of its mineral wealth.
“The Budget statement underscores the need to operationalise the Mining Promotion Corporation in order to carry out extensive exploration countrywide so that we can expand our mineral base to guide us on sustainable exploitation. However, there is no Budget allocation towards the operationalisation of this company despite its criticality,” he said.
Zimbabwe last carried out a national exploration in 1981, and Prof Gudyanga said the database was outdated. As a result, countries with advanced technologies had more knowledge about the country’s mineral wealth than Zimbabweans themselves, he said.
Prof Gudyanga said the ministry was operating with just half of its required staff complement of 624, saying this also affected effective monitoring of the mining sector to prevent leakages.
In his Budget statement, Minister Chinamasa projected that the mining sector would grow by 11,4 percent this year.
Meanwhile, the Secretary for Agriculture Mr Ringson Chi-tsiko said his ministry’s allocation of US$155,2 million was way below the requested US$490,5 million.
“The agriculture sector has had its fair share of decline and what we are doing is to try and resuscitate it so that according to the expectation of Zim-Asset and the public, we will be able to achieve that,” he said.
Parastatals under the ministry raised concerns about their allocations, while others did not get any budgetary support at all.
GMB general manager Mr Albert Mandizha said they asked for US$355 million to boost the strategic grain reserve but were allocated US$96 million.
He also said Government owed the parastatal US$44 million that it took from its commercial activities to finance grain purchases.
Further, he said, there was an outstanding US$6,2 million for grain delivered by farmers last year, while another US$8,6 million was owed to transporters hired under the Grain Loan Scheme. Agricultural Rural Development Authority acting general manager Mr William Mbona said they got nothing and hampered efforts to revive operations at 17 of its estates countrywide.
Mr Sam Malaba, the Agribank CEO, said out of a request of US$50 million to recapitalise their operations they got US$4 million.
The Cold Storage Commission also did not receive funding in the budget. Minister Chinamasa said agriculture was expected to grow by 9 percent in 2014.