The Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust (Sapst) said the country requires a broad-based pro-poor Budget framework to improve societal welfare in the country from 2012 and beyond.
In a statement yesterday, Sapst said the country had gone through three phases namely the 1980-1990 era dominated by government interventions, 1991-1998 era of economic liberalisation with less government interventions and the 1999-2008 era where populism was dominant.
“We urgently need to address the structure of public expenditure, and priorities, so as to meaningfully impact on poverty alleviation, in order to mould a socially-just society,” reads part of the statement.
“As we chart towards the 2012 Budget formulation process there is need to look closely at our circumstances, understand the development nexus better and develop priorities that address poverty in a sustainable manner, within a broad developmental State strategy.”
Sapst said the country should assess the poverty situation for the past 30 years to identify areas where it was dominant and have a poverty strategy that could be used for budgetary policies.
“This can then form the basis for the adoption of a realistic pro-poor budgetary process rather than the current marginal approach to addressing poverty,” said Sapst.
The organisation said the government must provide incentives that allow the poor to maximise their productive potential and create an enabling environment that allows urban economic activities to prosper, particularly those that absorb the urban poor.
Sapst said a deliberate expansion on public expenditure in agriculture and microenterprise where the poor are dominant should be created.
According to the 2010 national Budget, 85% of Zimbabweans are living below the poverty datum line of $500 per month.
It said implementing a pro-poor Budget framework implies that the government continuously channels public resources towards areas where the poor are confined.
Sapst was established after the founding trustees recognised the need to provide technical and financial support to the Parliaments of Southern Africa in their core functions of Executive oversight, law-making and representation.