PARLIAMENTARIANS this month end will converge at the Victoria Falls for the pre-budget seminar as the country prepares for the next year’s budget consultation process.
According to the Hansard, the seminar will start on October 31 until November 3 and is aimed at equipping Members of the National Assembly to effectively contribute towards the formulation of next year’s budget.
“The seminar is an important annual Parliament activity meant to enhance the contribution by members to the process of budget formulation and prioritisation ahead of the presentation of the 2014 national budget statement and the passage by Parliament of the Finance and Appropriation Bills,” part of the minutes read.
The 2014 budget consultation is expected to start in November with the actual budget presentation scheduled before year end.
With the tone for the 2014 national budget already set, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa faces a daunting task as the economy is almost on its knees.
It is expected to grow by 3,4% from the initial target of 5% largely due to poor performance of agriculture and industry.
Industry is in distress after recording a plunge in capacity utilisation to 39,6% from 44% recorded last year largely due to erratic power suppliers, antiquated machinery and high labour costs, among other variables.
The Bulawayo civil society recently met to draft a proposal expected to be submitted in the 2014 national budget ahead of government stakeholder consultations.
The civic groups resolved the government should prioritise infrastructure development in Bulawayo, especially in the health sector, adding that most of the hospitals were in a sorry state and seriously hit by shortage of equipment.
The lobby groups resolved to submit a proposal urging the government to prioritise the funding of water infrastructure in Bulawayo as a means to spur sustainable development.
Bulawayo has for years been hit by chronic water shortages and the situation worsened following recent decommissioning of Upper Ncema and Inyankuni dams.
To address the problems currently besetting the education sector, civil groups said the budget should also fund civil servants’ salaries especially those of teachers.
Zimbabwe suffered a massive brain drain during the decade-long economic downturn and the country has been struggling to attract back skilled labour largely due low salary scales.