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Citizens Attempt to Set Zimbabwe Budget Spending Priorities

FILE: Zimbabwe's Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa (L) addresses a media conference after meeting International Monetary Fund (IMF) Executive Director for Africa Chileshe Kapwepwe (R) in Harare, September 7, 2015.

Members of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) have been attending the 2017 National Budget Consultation meetings held this week in a bid to influence government spending priorities both in their localities and at a national level.

According to ZimRights, the organization has been encouraging citizen participation in democratic processes through its community work in a bid to further human rights protection.

The budget consultations kicked off on Monday as members of the parliamentary portfolio committees on Finance and Economic Development, Mines Energy and Lands, Agriculture Mechanisation and Irrigation Development solicited views from the public.

At a meeting held at Mucheke Hall in Masvingo on Monday afternoon, ZimRights said residents pointed out that the government should look into the recapitalization of collapsed industries such as the Cold Storage Commission.

The residents also asked government to finalize the construction of Tokwe Murkosi Dam which is expected to revitalize the arid region with irrigation opportunities and recreation.

ZimRights noted that cotton farmers asked for more support and “there was also a call upon government to support cattle farming in the province and investment in modern irrigation equipment.”

In Harare, the consultations were held yesterday at Cresta Jameson Hotel where citizens asked the government to look into its investment policies in a bid to have many investors in order to help grow its tax base.

“A cross-cutting theme in the consultations was the suggestion that government should merge ministries to cut public expenditure.”