HARARE – Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa has rejected calls by lawmakers to have Parliament’s budget increased from $57 million to $100 million saying Treasury had no capacity to do so.
Legislators had noted with concern during debate that some critical areas had been allocated insufficient resources, which undermines their performance.
In his contribution to the debate, MDC Member of Parliament for Mkoba, Amos Chibaya, bemoaned the budget allocated to Parliament, saying it fell short of their expectations.
His Binga South counterpart Gabbuzza Joel Gabbuzza and Zvishavane’s John Holder had also pointed out that that the national budget had not done justice to the needs of the mining sector despite its significance in the country’s economic revival.
While appreciating their concern, Chinamasa said Treasury was saddled with a huge wage bill that has remained an albatross on its neck.
He said with more than 70 percent of the budget going towards salaries, there was no room left for infrastructural development.
“The problem that Treasury is facing is a very simple one – too many needs and not enough resources. That essentially is a problem. How do you distribute too little to too many?” Chinamasa asked.
“All the income that we are receiving is going towards the payment of our wages including ourselves and none is left for operations, which is also an issue raised in the contributions and none left for infrastructure development,” he said.
He said government was, however, on course to correct the structure of the national budget.
Chinamasa said Zimbabweans must accept that until that budget structure is revisited “we are not doing our country any good because we need infrastructure in order to lay the foundation for our economic growth”.
“We should be setting aside at least $1, 5 billion annually towards our infrastructure. I want us to go on a journey together, collectively, step-by-step to get us out of the current situation and put right the structure of our budget,” Chinamasa added.