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MPs blast Foreign Affairs officials

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MPs on Tuesday blasted officials from the Foreign Affairs ministry for presenting a mere three-page report as a quarterly review of its budget, saying it was too shallow.

The MDC-T MPs, Dorcas Sibanda (Bulawayo Central), Brian Tshuma (Hwange Central) and Zengeza West MP Collen Gwiyo, said they were not impressed by the quality of the report presented to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade by the Secretary for Foreign Affairs Joey Bimha.

The MPs told NewsDay permanent secretaries and ministers were no longer taking Parliament seriously and they expected them to bring well-researched and detailed documents when asked to appear before the House of Assembly.

“I am very disappointed by the quality of reports that these ministry officials bring to Parliament,” said Sibanda.

“Instead of bringing us detailed reports, they are bringing us love letters disguised as quarterly reports,” she said.

Tshuma accused the committee chairman, Zaka East MP Samson Mukanduri (Zanu PF) of attempting to protect the Foreign Affairs officials saying this was because Mukanduri was a former employee of the ministry.

The three-page document that Bimha had presented to the committee had been typed on both sides of the page and dealt with issues such as expenditure by diplomatic missions instead of delving on the budget Treasury had allocated to the ministry.

“The major financial challenge facing the ministry at head office remains funding of air tickets for crucial and unavoidable trips that the Minister of Foreign Affairs and officials undertake,” said Bimha.

“My ministry requires $5,5 million monthly to run our 44 diplomatic missions and Treasury avails an average $4,8 million per month.”

Bimha said his ministry faced unpredictable expenditure of $30 000 when they had to evacuate embassy staff and their dependants from Cairo, Egypt, and an amount of $42 000 when they had to evacuate staff from Tripoli, Libya.

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