Press Release - 2016 National Budget Disbursements and Expenditure

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

28 JANUARY 2016

The Zimbabwe Women’s Resource Centre and Network (ZWRCN) Calls for timely disbursement & transparent expenditure of development funds allocated in the 2016 National Budget.

In response to the announcement of the 2016 national budget and its subsequent adoption on 17 December, 2015, ZWRCN calls for the disbursement & transparent use of all development funds. Ministries must proactively ensure all allocated funds are disbursed by Treasury, and used in a transparent and efficient manner. Further we call on Parliament, in line with section 299 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe which states that, it is the mandate of Parliament to undertake budget oversight, to ensure that ministries regularly report on budget performance to Parliament. This way we as citizens will keep track of what is happening with our national resources.

Over the years, through our analysis of the national budget, ZWRCN has noted a worrying trend of either non-disbursement or limited disbursement of allocated funds to important economic and social sectors that have an impact on women and children’s welfare and access to opportunities. Alternatively funds have been allocated for economic sectors such as mining and agriculture as well as social sectors such as health, education and social welfare, but not all have been disbursed in a given year. For example, the Mining promotion corporation was allocated $3 000 000 in 2015 and none of it was disbursed last year.

ZWRCN has also noticed a reduction in funds allocated to some of these important economic and social sectors. For example, the allocation to the Mining promotion corporation has been reduced by half from $3000 000 from 2015 to $1 500 000 in 2016. We have also noticed that the Ministry of Mines and Mining development was allocated $5 964 00 in the 2016 budget which is lower than the 2015 allocation which was $8 909 000. Women are encouraged to participate in economic sectors such as mining but with such decreases in allocations there is no hope for women to really explore this sector. The same applies for the Ministry of Energy and Power Development, which was allocated US$6 810 000.00, a sharp decrease from the US$10 592 000.00 which was allocated in 2015. An investment in alternative energy sources for women is critical and reduction of allocations to this Ministry can compromise interventions to support this agenda.

Agriculture is a very important economic sector and most women participate in it yet there have been reductions in allocations. For example, conservation agriculture was allocated $365 000 in 2015, and this has been reduced to $200 000 in 2016. The continued decrease in allocations of funds for development projects in major economic and social sectors affects the well-being of ordinary Zimbabweans, with women and children being mostly affected. The Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development which is mandated to take care of the welfare of women was allocated $13.713.000, which is only a small increase compared to the $13.352.000 allocation for 2015. Whilst ZWRCN appreciates government efforts to empower women, it is critical that this is reflected not only in allocation of adequate resources in the national budget, but timely disbursements and expenditures.

For more information contact: Martha Mlambo on 252388/89/90 zwrcn@zwrcn.org.zw alternatively on Pamela Mhlanga or pamela@zwrcn.org.zw