Govt owes tertiary institutions over $100m

HARARE - Government owes more than $100 million to tertiary institutions for the cadetship programme.

Peter Mataruse, chairperson of the parliamentary portfolio committee on Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development, said the cadetship programme owes $35 million to training institutions.

“The ministry requested for $10 million to clear the outstanding debt. The committee recommends Treasury to clear the debt as it affects the running of the institutions,” he said.

The special cadetship scheme pays fees for disadvantaged students, who would in turn work in Zimbabwe after college for an equal number of years they received funding.

Students on the programme receive government grants or loans for their training or education.

State universities and colleges around the country have refused to register thousands of tertiary students who are on the cadetship programme before the government cleared its outstanding payments.

Government has been forced to scrap the programme at tertiary institutions because colleges and universities are currently owed millions by Treasury.

The committee noted that although scholarships are now under the responsibility of a newly-created ministry for Scholarships, the ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education still needs to clear outstanding scholarship issues, including ensuring that all outstanding stipends and agreements are honoured.

“In addition, the committee recommended future awards of scholarships to target local universities and colleges unless capacity to train the specific fields is not locally available.

“This will help the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in reducing pressure on foreign currency allocations,” Mataruse said.

“The committee also suggests that upgrading of some local universities to international standards will help so that parents send their children to local universities. This will also reduce pressure on foreign currency resources.

“The committee also recommended efficient control and financial accountability systems to the ministry’s statutory bodies such as colleges, universities, Zimdef and other specialised projects to limit leakage of resources.”

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