Where’s the money gone? – SEDCO fails to answer

THE Ministry of Small to Medium Enterprises Development has failed to account for funds allocated to it in the 2007 National Budget it has emerged.

More than Z$54 billion was allocated to Sedco in the 2007 Budget. The funds were meant to recapitalise Sedco’s operations and for on lending to SMEs.

The use of the funds, distributed to SMEs through the Small Enterprises Development Corporation (Sedco), raised more questions than answers as they had not reached the majority of the intended beneficiaries.

Chipinge-Chimanimani Senator Zepheniah Matanga called for the establishment of clear criteria of how funds allocated to the parastatal are disbursed.

The senator was presenting the half-year budget performance report prepared by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Youth, Gender and Women Affairs on the Ministry of Small to Medium Enterprises Development.

“Operations of Sedco, a parastatal under the ministry, were not clear and were subject to a lot of criticism. Sedco had particularly received allocation in the 2007 Budget for lending but its accountability of the funds is rather questionable,” said Matanga.

“A large amount of budget was being used for employment costs and administrative costs. This left insufficient funds for lending and for the ministry to carry out proposed budgets.”

The committee noted that the parent ministry was not accessible to people in rural areas as it had offices in cities and towns only.

The structures of the ministry only reached the provincial level and therefore only benefited few people in the urban areas, said the committee.

“Every year the Ministry of Small to Medium Enterprises Development presented impressive figures on how it had utilised resources allocated to it in the National Budget.

“However, most of these achievements were only on paper and there was no evidence on the ground,” noted the committee in its report.

“The visits made by the committee around the country, evidence presented to the committee by stakeholders and observations made by members in the constituencies showed that the ministry was virtually non-existent on the ground and only a handful of people could confirm to have benefited from operations of the ministry,” said Senator Matanga.  

The committee, however, commended the Ministry of Women Affairs, which it said played a pivotal role on the development of the country as it sought to empower women and men right at the community level.

“As the Ministry of Women’s Affairs dealt with people at this basic level, it was imperative that Government should make resources available for the ministry to be able to carry out its mandate,” said the committee.

Post published in: Economy

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