Members of Parliament have commended the 2021 National Budget presented to the House yesterday, saying it will help stimulate growth and consolidate production, consistent with the Second Republic’s strategies to achieve Vision 2030.
They also noted that Finance and Economic Development Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube was within the threshold set by the United Nations and the African Union on how much money should be allocated to critical sectors such as health and education.
In an interview, Budget and Finance portfolio committee chairperson, Cde Felex Mhona, said the National Budget captured what people had raised during their consultations.
“We held public consultations as a committee and the outcome that came from the public resonates with what the Minister has presented today,” he said.
“There is agriculture sector where there is the Maputo Declaration which says that 10 percent should go towards that sector and the Minister has actually surpassed that.
“The public has been saying we need to gravitate towards 15 percent and the Minister has provided 13 percent. On education, there is Dakar Declaration talks of 12 percent, but the Minister allocated 13 percent to show that people have spoken and the Minister listened.”
Foreign Affairs and International Trade portfolio committee chairperson, Cde Kindness Paradza, said Prof Ncube allocated the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade about $8,6 billion, which he said would go a long way in clearing arrears in foreign embassies such as salaries, rentals, school fees, among other expenses.
“We have US$41 million in arrears at our embassies in salaries, medical aid, rentals, school fees,” he said.
“It is good that we had that money, but what is important is to make sure that the bulk of this money be in foreign currency so that we will be able to pay off these debts because the bulk of the work of Ministry of Foreign Affairs is done by diplomats.”
Proportional Representative MP and leader of the opposition in Parliament, Dr Thokozani Khupe, (MDC-T) said it was critical that the Budget transform the lives of people.
“The Minister has presented figures and we need to ensure that those figures translate into a better life,” she said.
“We want the Budget to satisfy the needs of the people, it should make sure that people have food on their table, have houses.
“As Parliamentarians, next year it will not be business as usual, we will make sure that the Budget gets to the intended beneficiaries. I was impressed that it focused on infrastructure. Budgets should not be consumptive, but productive so that we produce and export so as to generate foreign exchange.”
Chegutu West MP Cde Dexter Nduna said he was encouraged by the provision of funds to improve the aviation industry through sprucing up of local airports like Kariba, Buffalo Range and Joshua Nkomo.
Portfolio committee on Primary and Secondary Education chairperson, Ms Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga said she was excited that the ministry got the bulk of the money from the budget.
“Education got the bulk of the money, but we need to make sure where exactly the money will go,” she said.
“It is too early to celebrate because in the previous years we have noted that most of the money would be consumed by salaries.
“We are particular on the per capita, we want to find out what is there for every child. But if we look at Dakar Declaration, the Minister went one percent up to 13 percent, so in principle that is commendable.”
Bikita West MP Cde Elias Musakwa (Zanu PF) said the Budget would stimulate growth and consolidate production.
Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development executive director, Ms Janet Zhou, commended the Budget, saying it had addressed the social sector, thereby helping in improving ordinary persons’ lives.
She said Prof Ncube tried to spread money to all sectors, leaving the Budget thin, meaning it might have little impact.
Harare Residents Trust executive director, Mr Precious Shumba, said Prof Ncube had done well in terms of allocating funds for devolution.