Home » Governance » Ministries Decry Low Budgetary Votes

Inadequate budget allocations by Treasury in the 2015 Budget presented by Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa two weeks ago, will result in ministries failing to carry out their mandates as expected, Government officials that appeared before parliament’s portfolio committees said yesterday.

The Zimbabwe National Army and the Air Force of Zimbabwe said poor allocation constrained their operations, in the process compromising the country’s security.

ZNA Chief of Staff, Major General Douglas Nyikayaramba and Air Vice Marshal Sheba Shumbayaonda, told a joint meeting of the Parliamentary Thematic Committee on Peace and Security and the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Security that their budget allocation was way below inescapable expenses.

“We owe our indigenous suppliers about $52 million against an allocation for next year of $28 million,” said Maj-Gen Nyikayaramba.

“It is an anathema to allocate us anything less than the $52 million that we owe.

“The realistic budget that the ZNA would need is about $114 million. If we could get half of that amount we could try work with that.

“In the past 20 years we have not bought a new troop carrying vehicle, in fact we are spending more trying to service those old vehicles.”

Maj-Gen Nyikayaramba said a number of senior army officials including brigadier-generals and lieutenant colonels entitled to official vehicles did not get their allocations because of poor funding. He said most of the junior army officials were living and working under inhumane conditions because of meagre resources.

AVM Shumbayaonda said the force was also under funded resulting in it failing to service its aircraft while at the same time owing millions of dollars to its suppliers.

He said they faced similar challenges to the ones affecting the ZNA adding that the runway needed continuous servicing yet it was difficult because of poor funding.

Acting director of War Veterans Department in the Ministry of Defence, Brigadier-General (Rtd) Collin Moyo, said war veterans and their children had suffered enough.

“We are responsible for paying school fees for war veterans and their children, their burial and medical expenses and we wanted $65,8 million but we were only allocated $18 million.

“Last year third term we didn’t pay anything so we owe $9 million and in 2014 alone we owe $8,6 million. So as you can see in total, we owe $17,8 million. Some war veterans’ children did not get their certificates while others had to drop out of school completely because of non payment of school fees,” he said.

Brig-Gen (Rtd) Moyo said during the inclusive Government they could demonstrate against former Finance Minister Tendai Biti, but they could not do it now since Zanu-PF was in power.

He called for better management of the country’s resources so that they could be equitably shared for the benefit of all including war veterans.

Appearing before the Portfolio Committee on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, the Director of Finance and Administration Mrs Memory Mukandori, bemoaned the $172 511 000,00 budget allocated to her ministry saying this would greatly affect programmes meant to assist vulnerable people in society.

She said the budget was 29 percent of requirements and programmes such as child welfare and probation services, social services and community recovery programmes among others would be affected.

“The money that was allocated is not adequate and as a result this will negatively affect programmes that we run as a ministry while some would be shelved,” she said.

Mrs Mukandori said the Basic Education Assistance Module had been allocated $7 million instead of the $31,98 million they had bided for and said this would see an increase in school drop outs.

She said they were in arrears amounting to $22, 1 million dating back to 2013 in terms of school fees for at least 600 000 primary and secondary school pupils being assisted under the programme.

A schedule provided by the ministry also showed that Government had allocated $200 000 for children under difficult circumstances against an ideal budget of $1, 3 million.

The money is meant to pay support grants for private children’s homes and foster parents.

Government also allocated $14 000 for children living on the streets against a bid of $20 000 while money for health assistance was set at $970 000 against a bid of $4,5 million.

For Harmonised Social Cash Transfers, the money meant for vulnerable people in the country’s districts, Government allocated $1,7 million against a bid of $28 million.

“For the HSCT programme the Zim-Asset target of 100 000 households will not be achieved as the allocated amount will suffice to pay beneficiaries in seven districts for three payment cycles.

“Unless financial resources are sourced elsewhere, cash disbursements under the HSCT programme may prematurely end in September 2015 when current financial support under the Child Protection Fund for the National Action Plan II comes to an end.

“This might derail the efforts made so far to reduce poverty and vulnerability among ultra poor households,” Mrs Mukandori said.

Source : The Herald