PARLIAMENT’s Finance and Economic Development and Sustainable Development Goal Thematic Committee chairperson Matthew Nyashanu last week said a cross-section of Zimbabweans had recommended a massive cut on the military budget allocation to ensure that social services got a bigger chunk of the budget.
BY REX MPHISA
Briefing journalists in Beitbridge about the committee’s findings, Nyashanu said residents wanted health, social services and Local Government and National Housing ministry to be significantly funded.
“It has come up in a number of our meetings. People have suggested that the defence budget be cut and more attention be given to the health, social services and local government sectors,” he said.
“People suggested that education, health and social services get bigger allocations and this has been the most talked about issue where we are coming from.”
Although military expenditure in Zimbabwe decreased to $332,36 million in 2017 from $358,07 million in 2016, it has averaged $211,28 million annually from 1980 until 2017.
“It is known to have reached an all-time high of $965,33 million in 2002 when Zimbabwe was engaged in the Democratic Republic of Congo war and a record low of $102,77 million in 2010 when there were no military engagements,” Nyashanu said.
In 2018, the Defence ministry was allocated $340,5 million, while the health and agriculture sectors received $208 million and $244 million, respectively.
Nyashanu’s team, which is half of the committee that has been divided in two, has been on a consultative tour of Kwekwe, Gweru, Bulawayo, Victoria Falls, Hwange, Gwanda and Beitbridge.
Meanwhile, residents and other stakeholders told the committee that government should consider establishing more border posts between Zimbabwe and South Africa, since it was the country’s biggest trading partner.
“Zimbabwe has several border posts with Mozambique and Botswana, yet only one with South Africa and yet that is its greatest trading partner, which is not normal. Can they budget for the establishment of more border posts?” asked town clerk, Loud Ramagkapola (pictured).
Beitbridge East legislator Albert Nguluvhe requested more budget allocations for Beitbridge Hospital, which he said catered for the entire Sadc region by virtue of being at the busiest port in the region.
Villagers who attended the consultative meeting requested government to consider increased allocation towards livestock restocking and creation of water bodies in the district.