Through Nango, their umbrella body, the organisations have convened a series of provincial consultative meetings over the past two weeks to receive suggestions from people about what they see as the national priorities to include in the forthcoming budget. The meetings were attended by church and community leaders, businesspeople and ordinary residents under what Nango calls the ‘budget coalition’.
The meetings also debated the nation’s development needs and compiled suggestions that could be forwarded to the government for consideration.
Nango programmes officer Machinda Marongwe said people should hold Zanu (PF) accountable for its promises in the run-up to July 31 elections. “People are waiting with bated breath to see if the Zanu (PF) government will prioritise issues to do with employment creation and improvement of health and educational standards rather than buying military hardware, as promised in its election campaign manifesto,” said Marongwe.
Moreblessing Manenji of Nango’s southern region said people in her area expected the government to create jobs, introduce computer lessons at primary schools, increase the number of poor children benefiting from the Basic Education Assistance Module and establish more educational institutions in remote rural areas.
She said the few available schools faced acute shortages of study materials and other learning aids.
“Government should come up with a budget which facilitates upgrading of health and educational facilities in rural areas,” said Manenji.
Manenji added that Masvingo expected the state to support the farming sector and enforce laws that forced foreign companies to employ local experts.
Reginald Ngwenya from the eastern region said people expected greater participation by children in the budget formulation process. Children would have an input through the junior parliament and school development committees.
“People are convinced that government has an obligation to fund early child development education and ensure that beneficiaries of BEAM are fairly selected,” said Ngwenya.
Nango’s Midlands representative, Taitos Mangoma, said the region faced a critical shortage of schools and health centres in the new resettlement areas. “The budget and relevant policies should help with the harnessing of solar and other sources of natural energy to mitigate the effects of power outages,” he added.
Mthokozisi Ndebele, an activist, said since Zanu (PF) said its government policies would be pro-poor, there were expectations that money would be set aside for building new dams.
“Government policies should be harmonised with budgetary issues so that those who benefit from state loans are made accountable,” said Ndebele.
Among the suggestions for boosting state revenues included new levies on the telecommunications sector, vehicle licensing and mining. The money raised could be directed to the education and health sectors.
“Nango and government enjoy good relations on non-political issues and the ‘people’s budget’ would be most welcome by the finance minister,” said Marongwe.Post published in: News