Zimbabwe Parliament to address budget shortcomings

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Parliament resumes sitting today with legislators and different portfolio and thematic committees expected to dwell on the shortcomings of the 2014 national budget.

BY SENIOR PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER

MPs from across the political divide yesterday indicated that the Finance Bill to operationalise the budget was likely to pass through albeit the shortcomings.

But social commentator Pride Mkono urged MPs not to pass the budget as it lacked pro-poor policies and ignored to put money into service delivery as well as critical social sectors such as education and health.

“Moreover, the budget is not specific as to how the government intends to raise the $4,1 billion it proposes,” Mkono said.

MDC-T chief whip Innocent Gonese said his party would speak on the weaknesses of the budget, but were unlikely to succeed in blocking the budget due to their numbers.

“We are going to raise our views as a party on different matters that were not addressed in the 2014 national budget,” Gonese said.

“For example, we think there are some ministries which deserved to be given priority like the Health ministry as its allocation runs short of achieving the 15% budget allocation towards Health as prescribed by the 2001 Abuja Declaration on Health which Zimbabwe is a signatory.”

Gonese said his party had no confidence in how the economy was being run hence they questioned how realistic it was to raise funds to finance the $4,1 billion budget.

“Zanu PF has the majority in the National Assembly and it is obvious that the budget will pass through. However, we will play our part to raise issues on the budget shortcomings,” he said.

Zanu PF Chikomba Central MP Felix Tapiwa Mhona said it was necessary for MPs to raise issues of inadequacy of funding to line ministries.

“I think relevant ministries should be encouraged to come up with innovative ways of generating money for their ministries.

“The cake is small, but we need to improve from a consumptive to a capital budget.

“The budget is funded from taxes, but we also need to interrogate how best we can find solutions as to how our natural resources can be used to fund the budget,” he said.