BY HARRIET CHIKANDIWA
THE Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Local Government has expressed concern over the low 2021 budget allocation to the National Housing ministry, which received a vote of $80,2 million from a bid of $547,7 million.
This was revealed in a report on the 2021 national budget which was recently tabled by the committee chaired by Miriam Chikukwa (Zanu PF proportional representation MP) in the National Assembly.
Recently, National Housing minister Daniel Garwe told NewsDay that his ministry had targeted to build more than 200 000 houses in the coming years.
“Given that the ministry is new, there is need for office equipment, furniture and fittings, as well as vehicles at the head office, at both the provincial and district levels. Unfortunately, the allocations made towards these expenditure lines are glaringly way below the budget bids,” Chikukwa said.
“A case in point pertains to vehicles; the permanent secretary and five directors have no cars, and depend on hiring vehicles, which is proving too costly.
“Out of a requirement of 70 vehicles, the ministry only has 13 old vehicles, of which five are non-runners. Such a scenario severely undermines the effective administration and discharge of the ministry’s mandate at all levels.”
Chikukwa said the ministry had found it prudent to first complete stalled projects around the country before considering new ones.
“The projects need a minimum of US$239,1million, that is, $20,3 billion for completion using a phased approach over four to nine years. However, for the 2021 budget, the Treasury allocated only 39,6% of the ZWL$3,5 billion ministry bid. At this pace; most of these projects will remain unfinished.”
Chikukwa said Ncube allocated the ministry a mere 6% of the required $106,3 million for the phased construction of 500 housing units for the distressed Chimanimani Cyclone Idai victims. She said this was worrying given the deplorable tents, and temporary structures in which the victims are living.
Chikukwa said the phased construction of Cyclone Idai victims’ houses should be fully funded.
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