MPs cry foul over budget

HARARE - Parliamentarians have lamented the lack of  adequate funding towards key government ministries from Treasury in the budgetary allocations made recently.

The 21 chairpersons of the various portfolio committees presented reports from the Parliamentary committees that have spent the last week considering the Budget in relation to the ministries they oversee.

Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa, last month presented a $4,1 billion 2015 National Budget which analysts say offers no relief to  the ailing Zimbabwean economy.

Legislators approved the  Budget after it was also approved by the Senate last week following the passage of the Finance Bill and Appropriation Bill in National Assembly on Thursday.

The chairpersons also demanded that Chinamasa reduce the budget allocations to the ministry of Defence and disburse the money to social sector ministries such as Health, Education and Agriculture.

Defence ministry was given $368 million which was the highest budget allocation in the 2015 budget.

  MDC legislators led by their chief whip Innocent Gonese argued that the there was no need to allocate the ministry of Defence such an amount while other ministries were getting  paltry figures.

“We have peace in this country  and we don’t need to continue  recruiting more members of the Defence forces and allocating them  more money as it  is not serving any purpose.

“In my home area in Mutare, I see  new army recruits every now and again and is it necessary to continue recruiting more soldiers? Can the minister consider revising his budget  and give priority to the social sector,” said Gonese.

This did  not go down well with Zanu PF MPs led by  Roland Muderedzwa who started debating that  MDC  legislators were treacherous  arguing that the opposition was  a threat to national security, hence the ministry of Defence had to be given more money to  maintain peace in the country.

This resulted in the debate turning into a mudslinging and name-calling contest among legislators with MDC legislators threatening to walk of out Parliament in protest over Muderedzwa’s utterances.

Both legislators started to sing and denouncing each other and the deputy speaker of National Assembly Mabel Chinomona had a torrid time in controlling the flaring tempers.

Chinamasa argued that the  Defence ministry had to continue to receive a huge vote wallet as matters of national security were of paramount importance and also there was need for the continuation of recruitment  of young soldiers to replace the retired and dead soldiers.

David Chapfika, chairperson of the Finance and economic development committee said his ministry was worried in that a huge chunk of the budget money was being channelled towards the wage bill.

He called on government to conduct an audit to determine whether it was paying genuine workers.

“We want a thorough audit of all government staff and pensioners and payments given the magnitude of the wage bill,” said Chapfika.

He added that government had to increase the allocation it had made to Parliament for legislators to carry out their work.

“Parliament was given $19 million instead of $45 million and this money is supposed to meet all the demands of the legislators as some of them are living like destitutes because of non-payment of their allowances,” said Chapfika.

Ruth Labode chairperson  of  Health and Child Care committee  said government should not depend on donors to fund the health sector as there was a danger of them pulling out like their did in Malawi.

The ministry of Health was allocated $300 982 000.

Clifford Sibanda chairperson of the Defence and Home Affairs committee said Chinamasa had to put more funding in the Defence to avoid starvation in the army as they were not sufficient food rations due to lack of money.

Irene Zindi chairperson of the Local Government National Housing and Public Works committee said there was need for government to  finish construction of the central registration offices to enable the public  to access to identification documents like national cards, passports and  birth certificates as only $3 million was needed to complete the project.

It was allocated $61 million by Chinamasa.

Nelson Chamisa, chairperson of Information and Technology committee, which received $6 million from Treasury, advised Chinamasa to put more investment in the Information Communication and Technologies (ICT) as it was the future of the country.

Legislators also demanded $189 000 allocated to office of the President and Cabinet be reduced as they considered it to be unnecessarily high.

 

Comments (3)

Do we have MPs in this country!

Tjingababili - 21 December 2014

Time to look for the money Cde Chinamasa

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