Parliament fails to pay dues

HARARE - Parliament business could grind to a halt amid indications that the august House is owed close to $10 million in staff costs, transportation and accommodation dues by Treasury.

National Assembly speaker, Jacob Mudenda, yesterday told parliamentarians at a pre-budget briefing seminar in the capital that the arrears had rolled from the seventh Parliament into the eighth.

“We are in arrears in terms of the allowances due to presiding officers, due to honourable members, due to staff members of Parliament

“And we are in almost the same position that we began in the eight Parliament where the seventh Parliament was owed round figure $8 million and it was this Parliament which started then to push for the liquidation of the other account,” the speaker said.

He highlighted that while the outstanding amount was a pressing priority to Treasury, Finance minister, Patrick Chinamasa, had no room to manoeuvre and pay up given the little fiscal space under which he is operating.

“We are now at $10 million, the eight Parliament indicating how much you are owed, we are owed, your staff is owed… The minister may feel moved to pay this money, but with the large current account and fiscal deficit it is just an uphill task,” he said.

This comes as President Robert Mugabe recently blocked a raft of Chinamasa-proposed measures aimed at curbing government expenditure and trimming the wage bill.

As of June 30, government was drowning in a $623,2 million budget deficit, against an annual projection of $150 million.

The possibility of Chinamasa honouring the $10 million obligation becomes bleak by the day as revenue collections have continued to nose-dive.

Zimbabwe Revenue Authority figures indicate that the country’s first half revenue collections stood at $1,8 million which was 9,8 percent below target and with expenditure standing at $2,3 billion against a target of $2 billion, government had overshot budget by $308,4 million.

Chinamasa recently projected 2,5 percent decline in this year’s revenue collections to $3,7 billion against a tough operating environment that has given rise to company closures, mass retrenchments and consequently, a contracting revenue base.

According to Chinamasa, the major component of the high expenditures is the civil service wage bill, which is at the centre of the fiscal deficits leading to overall macro-economic instability.

“Given all these hurdles, the money owed to Parliament is likely going to keep rising,” Mudenda said.

Comments (2)

Giving the appalling economic mess in Zimbabwe maybe parliament shouldn't be paid at all.

citizen - 12 October 2016

Maybe it will finally dawn to the ZANU PF majority in parliament that their ZANU PF government is indeed broke and therefore needs to be changed asap.

Chikata - 13 October 2016

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