Mixed reactions emanated from a post budget analysis meeting hosted by Signs of Hope on allocations to Person’s With Disability, Youth and women attended by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Budget, CSO’S and other key stakeholders in Harare today.
The meeting commended the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development for availing more funds and guarantee’s for PWD’s, Youth and Women despite calling for more inclusionary traits.
“ It is important to note that positives have been realised as the budget for infrastructural development for schools has increased by 15% from 2022 and no allocation in 2021 among other positives.” Dr Michael Pasara the project Consultant said.
The meeting called upon government to put more resources to health and areas that rendered key populations more vulnerable.
“Everyone needs access to health but the challenge is the allocations remain low and the release of the funds has been slow. The health allocation will see 54% of the allocations to health servicing wages, leaving 46% of the budgeted amount expected to meet the large infrastructural, medication, equipment challenges faced by the sector.” The Director of the Parliament Budget office Pepukai Chivore said.
The meeting called for a clear operational strategy from ministries working with key populations as they had deprived communities of access to resources meant for their economic development and social protection.
“The Ministry of Public Service Labour and Social Welfare has to improve it’s operations as they have been found wanting in terms of utilising the Community Recovery Fund, National Drought Fund, overpayments on BEAM among other funds under their supervision to guarantee social protection.” Chivore also said.
The meeting highlighted the need to emphasise on research and availing accurate information to guarantee social protection especially for the disabled.
“We should become more scientific in gathering statistics on population and circumstances of the PWD’s by district so as to guarantee them social protection. We need to devise strategies that accurately inform on issues related to the disabled.” MP for Kambuzuma, Hon Madzimure also said during the meeting.
The Chairperson of the Budget Finance and Economic Development Honorable Nyashanu called for Zimbabwean’s to desist from depending on donors as this had only succeeded in making people unproductive and more vulnerable.
The meeting further proffered recommendations to government, multilateral partners, CSO and the private sector in a bid to guarantee social protection for the vulnerable key populations that include tax reductions for the disabled, tax benefits for pro PWD’s employers, accountability among other measures.