Zanu-PF Chief Whip Cde Pupurai Togarepi made an important intervention yesterday.
In a statement, Cde Togarepi — who doubles as the Zanu-PF Youth League Secretary — indicated that ruling party legislators were foregoing luxury vehicles and other privileges they are entitled to as Members of Parliament (MPs).
During debate on the 2019 National Budget, the MPs had, among other things, demanded an improvement in their conditions of service.
They demanded luxury vehicles, three course meals a day when on parliamentary business, gym facilities or membership for them at sports clubs for recreational purposes.
They wished to play golf, too, at Parliament’s cost. Their demands saw Treasury increasing the budget for Parliament from $101 million to $145 million at a time the Government is implementing austerity measures to contain expenditure.
Austerity measures speak to a reduction in Government expenditure, among other harsh policy initiatives taken by Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube to reduce the national Budget deficit and cut debts.
By any measure, demanding luxury vehicles whose procurement for legislators would cost Government several million dollars was not in sync with both the public mood and Government’s economic thrust underlined by the Transitional Stabilisation Programme.
The time to spend beyond our pockets is past us as a nation.
It is time to be productive. In foregoing luxuries that come with being legislators, Zanu-PF lawmakers have demonstrated an appreciation of the direction the leadership wants to take our nation.
Austerity measures are for everyone! True people’s representatives — as MPs claim to be and are — do not live large at the expense of those they lead.
We salute Zanu-PF MPs for making such a rare sacrifice. Our public hospitals are in dire need of modernisation and medicines, our doctors require vehicles to enable them to attend to the sick, our civil servants are yearning for an improvement in their conditions of service, the agriculture sector requires mechanisation and so are many other productive sectors of the economy.
Attainment of Vision 2030, as espoused by President Mnangagwa, is only achievable when every Zimbabwean in his or her sphere of influence exercises restraint on expenditure, fully cognisant of the opportunity cost — forgoing the less important for the essential.
With that in mind, we take the opportunity to urge our civil servants as they negotiate with their employer to learn a few lessons from the position taken by the Zanu-PF MPs — the national interest must always guide us as a people.
While we all want to roll in luxury vehicles, smile all the way to the bank, live as if tomorrow does not exist, for now let us sacrifice knowing a bumper harvest is certain at the end of the season.
Source : The Herald