Residents snub budget consultation meeting

Only two people turned up for the pre-budget consultation meeting held in Gweru. The consultation meeting, held at council theatre, was conducted by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Economic Development Committee on Sunday.

Lovemore Zigara

The portfolio committee was met by a virtually empty room and the team of six legislators and about ten parliament staff by far outnumbering participants.

Budget, Finance and Economic Development Committee chairperson David Chapfika was forced to convene the meeting with only two people in attendance at 9.50 am.

He told that people were underestimating the effectiveness of their contributions hence shunning the exercise.

“I think people don’t take these budget consultations seriously. They think somebody else will go on their behalf. People are busy running around with their own errands and this could be the challenge,” he said.

“When the budget is eventually pronounced they cry foul to say this and that was not included and yet the opportunity would have been presented to them. People underestimate the effectiveness of their contribution.”  

One of the participants at the budget consultation meeting Davison Muduba, who was representing the Zimbabwe Development Democracy Trust, said there is need for parliament to consider holding such meetings in high density suburbs.

“I suggest that there be a change of venue in such consultations and try areas such as Mkoba (High Density Suburb) where there are a lot of people. Some would want to come but they would not be having transport money,” said Muduba.

Meanwhile, in his input towards the proposed 2018 budget Mr Muduba said there is need for government to set aside funds for patients with diseases such as cancer so they can access treatment outside the country. 

“We have a lot of people who need treatment outside the country for specialist treatment for diseases such as cancer. However, there are a lot of people who cannot afford such specialist treatment if pleas for donations in the media are anything to go by,” said Mr Muduba.

“I therefore, suggest that we set aside a fund to cater for such people,” he added.

The other participant Rangarirai Hove said there is need for government ministries to come up with interactive websites with all information to help people seeking information on government programmes.

The parliamentary portfolio committee is holding consultation meetings whose input will be considered when Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa draws up the 2018 national budget.