SENATE President Edna Madzongwe yesterday cried foul over the meagre $19 million allocation to Parliament in the 2015 National Budget while opening the post-budget seminar for legislators in Harare.
SENIOR PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER
Madzongwe described the paltry allocation as “absurd”.
“Parliament is one of the three arms of government, but I am disheartened that we had requested for $46 million excluding salaries, but were only allocated $19 million including salaries,” Madzongwe said.
“I think that is an absurd allocation as employment costs will take $10 million from the $19 million allocation.”
Madzongwe said after factoring in costs that would be incurred through sittings of Parliament and capital expenditure, the institution will remain with only $1,6 million for the whole year to go towards recurrent expenditure.
“That is totally unacceptable and we will have to engage Treasury on this matter. While we acknowledge that there is tight fiscal space that the Finance ministry had to craft the Budget in, we believe more resources should have been allocated to Parliament so that we are able to carry out our duties as envisaged by the Constitution,” Madzongwe said.
Currently Parliament owes millions of dollars in hotel bills, sitting allowances to former and current legislators, as well as airfares and fuel allowances.
Meanwhile, economists and tax experts said the Budget lacked pro-poor policies, adding urgent policy interventions were needed to reverse the economic meltdown.
Director of Labour and Economic Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe Godfrey Kanyenze said it was devastating that the health sector was allocated 7, 1% of the Budget in 2014, but in 2015 the allocation went down to 6, 2% which is against the Abuja declarations to spend 15% on health.
Ernest and Young tax expert Rameck Masaire said as long as Zimbabwe did not deal with the fundamentals of creating economic activity it would be difficult to grow the revenue base.