Former MPs still to be paid

HARARE - Former legislators are yet to receive their pensions and outstanding allowances benefits after serving five years.

The 7th Parliament had 300 members and with each being owed about $20 000 the previous Parly is owed a  cumulative  $6 000 000.

Pearson Mungofa, former legislator for Highfield, who served from 2000 to 2013, told the Daily News on Sunday they were still waiting for their dues from Parliament.

“Despite the promises of payments made by Minister of Finance Patrick Chinamasa, during the presentation of the 2014 budget in Parliament last year, some of us are yet to receive our money.
 
“I am not complaining but I am just stating the facts because I know many of my former colleagues are having difficulties especially at this time of the year when we are preparing for opening of school terms,” said Mungofa.

“We are  still to be paid our outstanding monies by Parliament. As former MPs, were expecting the money last month since Parliament paid out bonuses to incumbent legislators we, were expecting to be paid as well,” added Mungofa.

Chinamasa said the package will also be extended to legislators who served in the Seventh Parliament who had not yet received their monies.

In the 2014 Budget, the Justice ministry was allocated $108 000 000 and it is expected that payment to settle the debt will be made from that balance.

Last month, Treasury paid out $400 000 dollars towards bonuses of 400 legislators of the 8th Parliament who received $1 000 each.

Chinamasa promised former legislators that they would receive their pensions and benefits before the end of 2013.

Pointing across the bench where MDC legislators were seated, Chinamasa said he was aware that the former Cabinet ministers and legislators were facing a hard time financially and had appealed to him to bail them out by clearing their outstanding allowances and paying up their retrenchment packages.

“I know we have arrears for MPs in allowances and some of them have hit a hard time now that they are no longer in government.  Mr Speaker Sir, Members of Parliament from the last Parliament, including Ministers who served during the Inclusive Government, have outstanding payment of allowances due to them,” said Chinamasa.

“Treasury acknowledges this indebtedness, and will endeavour to honour the payment commitment towards members of Parliament allowances,” said Chinamasa, who received thunderous applause from the legislators.

Meanwhile, legislators are set to meet tomorrow to discuss the post-2014 budget seminar as well as budget allocations to various ministries which were presented in December last year.

When Parliament went for a break last year for the festive holiday, the legislators did not have the time to debate and scrutinise the Budget.

Parliamentary sessions will resume on January 21 and the Finance Bill to operationalise the Budget is expected to be passed by Parliament.

Parliament adjourned on December 19 to allow MPs, Parliamentary portfolio committees and the public to study the Budget package.

MPs were expected   consult their constituencies in preparation for the ensuing debate.

An intensive series of portfolio committee meetings by various Portfolio committees is to be expected as chairpersons will present their committees’ reports on the Budget package during the resumed debate in the National Assembly.

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