Education ministry banks on mid-term budget

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Primary and Secondary Education minister Evelyn Ndlovu

BY NIZBERT MOYO/KUDAKWASHE TAGWIREYI
Primary and Secondary Education minister Evelyn Ndlovu says her ministry is pinning its hopes on a supplementary budget to be announced tomorrow to hire more teachers.

Finance minister Mthuli Ncube is expected to announce the mid-term budget review statement in Parliament tomorrow.

Last week on Wednesday, Ndlovu was asked by legislators to explain government policy on employment of additional teachers.

The Primary and Secondary Education minister said her ministry was doing its best to secure qualified teachers to augment those already in schools.

“I engaged the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare regarding this particular situation. We were promised 5 000 teachers this year, but because of inflation, we have managed to engage a small percentage of the required teachers. So we hope that the supplementary budget will come as a panacea to our problem which will also allow us to look at the issue of salaries,’’ Ndlovu said, adding that Parliament’s reversal of decentralisation of recruitment of teachers had adversely affected recruitment process.

“This was done in a quest to curb corruption, (but) this is really affecting the ministry. I, therefore, implore this august House to consider intervening in this issue so that the recruitment of teachers is decentralised.”

Ndlovu also indicated that satellite schools need classroom blocks and furniture.

Meanwhile, the Fight Inequality Alliance Zimbabwe (FIA) has called on Ncube to come up with robust tax relief measures in his mid-term budget review statement in order to improve the standard of living of Zimbabweans who are now living below the monthly food poverty line.

In a statement, FIA said the World Bank projected that more than 7,9 million Zimbabweans were living in poverty and failing to meet the US$29,80 food poverty line per capita.

“Ncube must be guided by the realities and statistics and align all fiscal and economic interventions towards poverty and inequality reduction in light of Sustainable Development Goals one and 10 respectively,” read the FIA statement.

FIA Zimbabwe co-ordinator Angella Mandoreba said Ncube should not announce a budget surplus when realities on the ground show that sectors such as education and health are not well-funded.

“Since 2019 when austerity measures were introduced, government has been on the overdrive with surplus budgets which do not clearly reflect the realities on the ground,” Mandoreba said, further praying that Ncube announces robust tax measures that include reviewing downwards of withholding tax, which was increased from 10% to 30%.

“In addition there is need to scrap or at least peg the 2% tax above the poverty datum line and review upwards the tax-free threshold so that consumers have more disposable incomes cognisant of inflationary patterns and market volatility and align the thresholds to the poverty datum line,” she added.

FIA also suggested that a wealth tax be introduced so that wealth is distributed equitably.

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