GOVERNMENT owes $62 million in unpaid fees to its State universities, polytechnic colleges and teacher’s colleges, Parliament heard yesterday.
SENIOR PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER
Director of Higher Education Martha Muguti disclosed that the Ministry of Finance had failed to meet its budgetary obligations to finance tertiary institutions since 2012, leaving them in financial dire straits.
Muguti made the disclosure when she appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Higher Education, Science and Technology chaired by Insiza MP Siyabonga Ncube.
“Since January 2013, no single cent has been released for State universities and we find it difficult to deal with issues of accommodation, meals and the standard of life students now live is appalling,” she said.
She also said most parents were failing to pay university fees which ranged between $350 for arts, $400 for sciences and $450 for medical and veterinary sciences per semester.
“We are losing a lot of potential students because they cannot afford to pay the expenses for tertiary education,” she said.
Addressing the same committee, the ministry’s finance and administration director George Milton Chabururuka said they had bid for $69 million for cadetship financing in the 2012 budget, but were allocated only $25 million.
“Out of the $25 million allocation, the Finance Ministry took away $15 million to finance the mid-term fiscal statement and we were left with $10 million. Out of the $10 million, only $3,4 million has so far been disbursed to the ministry, and in 2013, only $750 000 has been disbursed,” he said.
Deputy Director of Projects and Planning, Margaret Chirapa also told the committee that government owed $9 million to contractors and consultants, resulting in most infrastructure developmental projects being left uncompleted.