By Shingirai Vambe
Some Members of Parliament are apathetic of the one week Pre-Budget Seminar being held in resort city of Victoria Falls.
The Finance and Economic Development Minister and permanent secretaries from various government departments this coming week to discuss the 2022 National Budget proposals.
Legislators argue that in previous national budget statements, the Minister of Finance Professor Mthuli Ncube has deliberately overlooked their inputs despite noting them during the consultative meetings.
Most notably is been the push from the opposition members for greater allocation of funds to key ministries and government departments to enhance their performances as opposed to austerity aimed at retaining surpluses.
“For three years now, minister Ncube has been preaching about surplus while under allocating funds to ministries hence under performance,” said Innocent Gonese.
As a precursor to this week’s meeting, legislators are currently attending a pre-budget seminar in the resort city of Victoria Falls expected to end on Monday.
According to the legislator- the meetings with ministers are nothing but ceremonial annual events to rubber stamp the Finance Minister’s own written budgets.
Prof. Ncube is expected to announce the 2022 National Budget on the 25th of November at a time the national currency is depreciating rapidly and inflation is on the rise.
Prices have been pushed upwards by businesses quoting their prices using the parallel market rate of ZW$ 200/USD.
“The economy has dollarized and the public service continue to get salaries in RTGS which is currently being rated at 1:200 in the streets where cash is circulating more than formal channels” Buhera South Legislator, Joseph Chinotimba said.
The 2022 budget is expected to foster interventions to address key social and economic enablers such as health, education and infrastructure.
Delivering his keynote address on the first day of the seminar, the Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Francis Mudenda said, “with so many people making so many sacrifices, I think it is so important that we’re able to offer a sense of direction and sense of hope.”
Mudenda further highlighted that the Government is firmly committed towards enhancing gender equality and availing equal opportunity for women and girls.
Primarily the Zimbabwe Constitution section 3(1)(f), 14(1), 17,56,65(6)(7) and 67(3) enjoys the state to promote full gender balance in the Zimbabwean Sociaety.
Legislators told prof Ncube that he should disburse funds in time before it is erroded by inflation, and be able to meet the allocated budgets to each ministry since the economy is growing and making surpluses
It was during this pre-budget seminar where the Mudenda said as Parliament they only got 38% of the allocated budget while the media ministry received a quarter of their allocation.
Legislators bemoan passing of passed budgets which never saw any light of the day, only earning a paltry ZWL $17000 which cannot service even the loan schemed vehicles let alone other needs they assist in their respective constituencies.
Public Accounts Committee chairperson, Brian Dube told Post On Sunday that the ZWL $2m which was earlier was USD $50 000 and now US $12000 which is able to drill 2 mechanised solar powered boreholes instead of 10.
Prof Ncube since assumption of his office, he has never disbursed allocated required funds to any ministry 100% worse in 2021 where majority of the ministries got less than 50% of their allocations.
Members of Parliament have however threatened not to participate in the passing of the 2022 budget failure to address welfare issues across the divide while the country prepares hold general harmonized elections in 2023.