By Nhau Mangirazi
VICTORIA FALLS- The forthcoming budget remains devoid of helping to sort out the environment that remains neglected ahead of climate change knocking the country’s rainfall patterns and food security due to recurring droughts and dry spells affecting the whole of Southern Africa.
The parliamentary portfolio committee on tourism and the environment recently decried lack of commitment by finance minister Prof. Mthuli Ncube for undermining environment issues by not providing adequate resources to boost work on climate change as well as tourism sector, one of the country top foreign currency earners.
Hon Concilia Masuku-Chinanzvavana (Proportional Representative for Zvimba-MDC A) who chairs the tourism and environment parliament portfolio committee presented a ‘hard hitting’ document to the parliamentarians who attended the pre-budget seminar in the resort town of Victoria Falls last week.
She said it was sad to note that the pre-budget paper that should show direction on national strategic issues did not mention anything positive on environment development issues.
‘The pre-budget paper is strategic on issues of national interest but ironically never mentioned anything about environment management issues. This paints a gloomy picture as it seems these are not of any importance but we need to redress that Mr. Speaker Sir, as a matter of urgency. Environment management concerns include lack of office accommodation for senior managers following the merging of two ministries of tourism and environment from the previous cabinet. This however, is not good for the country’s priority areas that we are all concerned about including the environment that caters for climate change responsiveness among other issues of national importance,’
Hon.Masuku-Chinanzvavana further added that revenue resources are limited regarding these departments and this seriously affects effective implemention of Government programmes that they are looked forward to providing periodically.
‘We need to move with time and allocate adequate resources for these departments as lack of resources will not help but fuel underperformance by officials who must be accountable on taxpayer funding,’ she added.
The pre-budget seminar was held under backlash from parliamentarians who took a swipe at finance minister Prof Ncube for failing to allocate adequate resources especially to the ailing health sector where doctors’ strike have paralyzed health delivery operations while demanding better salaries and working conditions.
However, government has dismissed some doctors for failing to report for duty but concern is rife after Prof Ncube dodged strictly abiding by the Abuja Declaration which Zimbabwe is a signatory to that binds member countries to allocate at least 10 percent of its budget to the health ministry.