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Lawmakers Urged to Scrutinize China, Zimbabwe Mega Deals

  • Irwin  Chifera

Speaker of Parliament of Zimbabwe Jacob Mudenda.

Speaker of Parliament of Zimbabwe Jacob Mudenda.

Speaker of the National Assembly, Jacob Mudenda, says lawmakers must scrutinize the mega deals signed by Zimbabwe and China last week and ensure that they are implemented for the benefit of the people.

This follows complaints by some members of the public that the deals may only benefit the ruling elite.

Speaking at a one day post-budget seminar on Tuesday, Mudenda said all public funds must be fully accounted for.

He said political affiliation should not deter lawmakers from critically examining the 2016 budget and holding the executive accountable for anything related to state coffers.

The speaker lamented the fact that the public wage bill was compromising the fiscus as it was chewing more than 80 percent of the $4 billion budget.

It was worrying, he said, that the 2016 growth projections at 2.7 percent were way below the 7.3 projected by the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZimAsset).

Economist, Godfrey Kanyenze of the Labor and Economic Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe told lawmakers they must ensure that a national budget prioritizes people’s issues.

He said Zimbabwe had vast resources but little or nothing was being done to ensure that they benefitted people.

While the finance minister projects that the country will grow by about 2.7 percent next year, Kanyenze says Zimbabwe’s growth may not go beyond the 1.5 percent mark given the effects of drought worsened by the El Nino weather phenomenon.

Former Finance Minister, Tendai Biti, told members of his People’s Democratic Party that the economy would contract by between 3 to 8 percent.

Kanyenze urged parliamentarians to force government to ensure that resources are allocated appropriately, especially to ministries that deal with people’s socio-economic rights such as health and education.

Lawmakers will debate the 2016 budget and are expected to approve it with little or no amendments.