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Budget must address national issues

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AS NewsDay continues to engage various interest groups ahead of the National Budget presentation for the year 2013 set for November 15, the Committee of The Peoples’ Charter today argues there is a need for the government to set the tone for a New Social Democratic Deal for Zimbabwe.

It is important at the onset to make it apparent that in presenting this alternative peoples’ Budget framework the Committee of the Peoples’ Charter (CPC) submissions are not made out of particular economic or financial expertise, but commitment to our country and commitment to democratic people-centred government.

And in  so doing, we wish to make it clearly understood that these submissions are premised on our intention to see the government prioritise the establishment of a social democratic ideological underpinning to the State, and a social welfare-oriented national economy.

Proposed priorities

  • Restoration of full functionality and professionalism at all major referral government and local government hospitals in Zimbabwe inclusive of free treatment and medication for the majority poor; free and guaranteed access to electricity for all of these hospitals; fair remuneration for all medical personnel and the relaunch of a health for all nationwide awareness campaign.
  • Provision for free primary school education for all; subsidisation of all government secondary school budgets; restoration of the student loan schemes for tertiary education in collaboration with university and college administrations and the establishment of a national education policy that is much more sensitive to the aspirations of Zimbabwe’s generation next.
  • Provision for Parliament that relate more to its oversight role than it does to the remuneration of Members of Parliament without being over-reliant on donor funding. This will serve to guarantee its independence.
  • Provision for a fully functional Judiciary, with permission for greater decentralisation of its functions for the full implementation of the rule of law and guarantees to its independence.
  • Provision for the land reform programmes hitherto, with access to agricultural inputs and infrastructural  developments remaining a priority; the land audit becoming a reality; the establishment and full functioning of an independent land commission as well as compensation for those who unjustly lost their livelihoods during the various phases of the land reform programmes after Independence.
  • Provision for the revival of a electricity, road/rail and telecommunications systems in order to improve public transport and communications.

This would entail revised incorporation of the National Railways of Zimbabwe and its national rail network with particular emphasis on urban passenger services as well as urban-rural passenger services; a revitalisation of our fixed telephone networks to integrate them with our mobile telephone for greater communication between citizens and the urgent refurbishment of outstanding power stations.

  • Provisions for the utilisation of revenue from the entirety of the mining industry into the national health system to purchase modern and up-to-date medical equipment, drugs as well as input directly into the revival of our national emergency response systems such as the Fire Brigade, Civil Protection Unit and ambulance services.
  • Provision for the expansion of the ability of Zimbabweans to receive and impart information through the establishment of a separate media development and diversity fund to assist in the establishment of independent private and community radio stations, boost transmission capacities of the same and assist the print media in their viability challenges.
  • Provision for a holistic review of all State enterprises within the context of having their functions fulfill the new social democratic and social welfarist deal for Zimbabwe.
  • Provisions for a “bridging the gap” reintergration and linkage  fund for the Diaspora with the express aim of ensuring that we communicate and integrate the Diaspora into our national debate and our national planning processes.
  • Provisions for the revival of our industrial sectors in relation to basic commodity production, mining, agriculture, tourism, industrial and mechanised heavy-duty production, information communications technologies, all premised on the understanding that their operations are predicated on a social democratic and social welfarist societal vision and reality.
  • Provisions for the on-going global efforts to tackle the global problem of climate change which will include a much more comprehensive funding programme for the metrological department, the reinvigoration of our public awareness campaigns on clean and eco-friendly environmental usage, that also is cognisant of the dangers of seeking Foreign Direct investment in bio-fuels that damage the environment.

Global Political Agreement provisions.

Conclusion
The significance of the National Budget cannot be more apparent in our country, wherein, it represents a binding statement of intent by the inclusive government to continue to seek solutions to our national political, economic and social crises.

The CPC is formed from the processes that led to the establishment of the Zimbabwe People’s Charter that was penned by civil society organisations in February 2008 at the Peoples’ Convention held in Harare, Zimbabwe.

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