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‘Resources should benefit poor people’

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Parliaments should ensure that natural resources benefit poor people Goromonzi North MP Paddy Zhanda said.

Zhanda, who is the chairman of the Parliament Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Investment Promotion, said this while addressing the 2011 first quarter meeting of the Sadc Association of Parliamentary Budget Committees last week in Harare.

“Poverty can be alleviated if focus when compiling national budgets is placed on prudent management of public resources,” said Zhanda.

“There is need for transparency and accountability in extraction of natural resources as well as efficiency and effectiveness in use of the same.”

Speaking at the same occasion, chairman of the Estimates Committee in the Zambian National Assembly Highvie Hamududu said the Sadc region was well-endowed with mineral resources yet there was too much donor dependence by those countries.

“We need to weaned off from donor dependence because we have mining resources in our countries.

“Companies extracting minerals from our countries pretend to be donors and yet they are making money from our minerals and then they come with a helping bowl to us,” said Hamududu.

He said African countries should work very hard to raise money from their resources because they were getting raw deals from mining companies.

“For instance, this year in Zambia mining companies contributed 2, 2% in terms of revenue and yet they are making billions from extracting our minerals. Tax regimes should be seriously evaluated,” said Hamududu.

Commenting on the manner MPs were “whipped” into a certain line of thinking by their political parties during formulation of budgets, Zhanda said independent MPs were necessary in Parliament because they were not affected by whipping systems.

“I agree that independent MPs should be there in Parliament because they will not be subject to political party whipping. I do not believe that whipping should be subject to issues of public importance like national budgets,” he said.

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