BY RUTENDO MATANHIKE
The Health and Child Care ministry is bidding for $3,8 billion, excluding salaries in next year’s budget, Parliament was told yesterday.
Presenting before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health yesterday, acting Health secretary, Robert Mudyiradima said the ceiling proposed by Treasury was inadequate to cover the ministry’s operations.
“Our ceiling from Finance ministry for year 2020 is $2 185 600 000 and of that there is compensation of employees which is salaries of $992 400 000,” Mudyiradima said.
“Our bid as a ministry for year 2020, we have policy and administration for $594 000 000, funding health we have $981 500 000 and primary healthcare which also covers most of the projects, we have got $3,2 billion making our total bid excluding salaries $3 880 000 000.
“So our ceiling excluding salaries for 2020 is, therefore, $1,193 billion which then gives us a financing gap of $2,687 billion. We haven’t introduced our funding partners yet in financing this gap as well as our collections from our institutions.”
Responding to the bid, Mhondoro Ngezi MP, Tavengwa Mukuhlani (Zanu PF) urged the ministry to channel most of its funding towards important areas as a way to curb the economic turbulence the country is currently facing.
“Have you as a ministry tried to relook at the process of budgeting for it to be applicable to our Zimbabwean situation? For example, the diseases our doctors were dealing with 20 years ago are not the same as today as there are probably more problems than there were then. As a ministry, you are still using the same budgeting strategy whilst dealing with a new set of diseases,” Mukuhlani.
“Failure to do so will result in us sitting at the same spot next year talking of the same issues like drug shortages instead of the ministry focusing on where our budget should be channelled towards because we are all in survival mode. Doing this is going to reduce our expenditure as a ministry and we can then cover the financial gap using money from our funders. The bottomline is there is no money in the country and as a ministry you need to adopt to the current situation.”
Proportional representation MP, Perseverance Zhou said he feared that the ministry stood to lose a lot of funds in dealing with issues they were not focusing on now, citing the lack of contraceptives in the country as a major concern.
“Right now life is very difficult and as a way to steam off the pressure many people are engaging in sexual activities without proper contraception,” Zhou said.
“As a ministry, you will pay a hefty fine in dealing with the abortions of unwanted pregnancies, something you can deal with now through making sure that services are delivered in the health sector because right now there are going to be a lot of unwanted pregnancies as contraceptives are not in large supply.”
She also urged for prioritisation in the building of Matabeleland North Provincial Hospital, which has remained on foundation level for the past 10 years.