BY STAFF REPORTER
THE Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (Zimcodd) has urged government to support child protection services, which have been characterised by very low budgetary allocations since 2017.
In a statement yesterday, Zimcodd said the country’s commitment towards child support was low despite a drop in malnutrition rates in 2019.
Zimcodd said Finance minister Mthuli Ncube in his fiscal policy review statement announced unrealistic economic growth rates, as well as budget surplus, but support for children remained low.
Despite Ncube’s budget surplus claims, government has been failing to support vulnerable children.
Zimcodd said child protection services were allocated paltry budgets of US$1,35 million in 2017, US$1,6 million in 2018, US$1 million in 2019, and US$1,2 million in 2021.
“Government has failed to release an incremental budget to the Social Welfare Department,” read the Zimcodd statement.
“Government’s failure to release an incremental allocation towards social protection services attests to the cruelty of on-going austerity measures at a time when the combined impacts of the pandemic and economic decline have affected children of school-going age in unprecedented ways.”
The social justice pressure group said as a result, approximately 2,6 million children were in need of assistance as acute malnutrition increased from 0,2% in 2018 to 1,4% in 2019.
“Despite such increase in malnutrition, the government in 2019 reduced its allocation to child protection services, a clear anomaly in government spending prioritisation.
“As of November 2020, approximately 3 526 children had received $400 which was later reviewed to $1 500 in January 2021 — an amount too meagre to make meaningful change to the lives of children,” Zimcodd said.
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