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Prioritise infrastructure development, govt urged

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CIVIL society organisations in Bulawayo have started drafting proposals to submit in the 2014 national budget ahead of government stakeholder consultations expected to begin in November.

Gamma Mudarikiri
Own Correspondent

Several groups, including Habakkuk Trust, Christian Legal Society (CLS) and the National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations met at a local hotel yesterday to brainstorm on what the government should prioritise in next year’s budget.

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 sorry state and seriously hit by shortage of equipment.

“Our hospitals are in sorry state and the government in the next budget should prioritise their refurbishment,” CLS advocacy officer Shirley Kapuyanyika said.

The lobby groups also 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, the 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.

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%.

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