Zimbabwe needs to control the inflation rate to maximize the full potential of the 2021 national budget as the nation builds towards becoming a middle-class income economy by 2030 through stability projected by the National Development Strategy1 (NDS1), Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda has said.
Speaking at a post-budget seminar held in Harare, Mudenda said there was need for building resilience and a recovery that is sustainable around the staggering $421,6 billion budget.
Mudenda said the 2021 budget showed potential towards improving and mitigating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic with an assurance that Zimbabwe will achieve an inclusive economic growth of 7.4 percent.
“We have to ensure that inflation is controlled otherwise the figure of the Budget will lose tremendous value. This budget reflects the government’s conscious commitment towards improving the livelihood of the citizenry despite the unprecedented effects of corona virus which has ravaged world economies,” he said.
Mudenda encouraged Parliamentarians to perform their oversight role to ensure that envisaged economic growth is achieved through monitoring of funds allocated to different ministries.
“Need I not remind our parliamentary committees to work beyond the call of duty effectively and demand from line ministries tangible execution of budget allocations through a religious monitoring and evaluation of the budgets development projects and programmes which must demonstrate the utilitarian value for money,” he said.
The Speaker noted that ministries often underutilized funds allocated to them urging legislators to interrogate the Finance and Economic Development ministry to find out why some sectors were not capitalizing themselves.
“Sometimes we are told line ministries only used 40 or 45 percent, MP’s need to interrogate the Ministry of Finance, to find out why not 100 percent, is it because when line ministries were waiting for their actual disbursement the money was not there and therefore only 45 percent or 50 percent was disbursed. These are the issues you need to interrogate from time to time as we implement the 2021 budget.”
Mudenda said tax payers dominated the fiscus revenue and had a right to demand the oversight responsibility from parliament.
“It is a responsibility of MPs to be apostolic about propagating a citizen’s budget as ably crafted by the Minister of Finance so that it becomes apparent to the citizenry as to how the 2021 budget can achieve integrated development,” he said
Mudenda said MPs needed to take note of the citizenry budget to effectively disseminate information back to the people showing them the extent to which their input in the national budget.
“In that way our fellow citizens can be able to visibly see and smell development as a live experience. Accordingly, I urge all our parliamentary committees to go into the hinterland in order to ascertain how our national budget has practically been transformative of the peoples live,” he said.
Mudenda also said there was need for parliamentary committees to engage people in fruitful discussions over development.
“Relatedly oversight public hearings by committees which take 30 minutes or less with the people or around project inspection must stop.”
“MP’s and chairpersons need to stand backwards and allow people to speak. Have more time with the people or around projects you are visiting in order to fully appreciate how the budgetary allocations are being used.”
Mudenda said he had toured Mashonaland West and Matabeleland North where people had raised complains against MPs who were merely representing them without taking time to interact and hear their views.
He said parliament had a duty to give feedback to the people and to clarify on citizenry budget.
“Public trust is a bold dividend which should never be betrayed by parliament, we owe our institutional existence to the people of Zimbabwe, and after all the budget revenues depends on the tax payers and we cannot afford to short change them by failure to lose credence in the implementation of the 2021 budget,” Mudenda said.