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Sunday, January 29, 2023
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Portfolio Committee raises concerns over budget allocation

Story by Margaret Matibiri

THE Portfolio Committee on Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, has raised issues over the inadequacies of the ministry’s allocated funds in the 2023 National Budget.

In a report issued by the committee’s chairperson, Honourable Justice Mayor Wadyajena, the allocation of ZWL$362,520,603,000 constitutes approximately 8.06% of the total budget, which is lower than the one agreed upon by Heads of State at the “Maputo Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security in Africa”.

“African Heads of State and Government came up with the Declaration at the Second Ordinary Assembly of the African Union in July 2003 in Maputo that 10% of public expenditure should be spent on agriculture in an effort to increase agricultural productivity.

“The Committee is therefore worried that the allocation of about 8% to agriculture is below the Maputo and Malabo Declarations. This is made worse by the fact that the Ministry is very broad, with its mandate including other areas which might not be under the functions of the ‘agriculture’ ministries in other countries, for example, ‘water’, ‘fisheries’ and ‘rural development functions could be separate.

This means that the allocated resources are not enough,” said Honourable Wadyajena.

The portfolio committee will monitor resource utilisation to advocate for a revision in the Mid-term review in the event that inflation supersedes projections.

“The 2023 budgetary allocation for the Ministry is an increase of about 56.4% compared to

the revised estimates for 2022. The National Budget projects average annual inflation for

2023 to be double-digit levels without specifying a number. If inflation end up exceeding

56.4%, it would imply that the allocation for 2023 is lower than the 2022 allocation in real

terms,” reads the report.

“The Committee, therefore, will continue to monitor resource utilisation to advocate

for a revision in the Mid-term review if resources are getting eroded by inflation.

“The 2023 Budget seeks to capacitate the extension workers with mobility and communication systems in the form of vehicles, motorbikes and computer tablets to enhance their effectiveness, as well as sharpen their skills through training. The ZWL$39.8 billion allocation for this purpose is well appreciated, and it is the Committee’s hope that this will be timeously disbursed.”

The committee raised concerns and recommendations.

“The allocation towards the Integrated Water Management programme area is too little

given that it has been given less priority in allocation while it only got 22% of what had

been requested. The Committee recommends that the allocation for this programme area

be upscaled.

“The ZWL$11.8 billion for the mechanisation programme targeting smallholder farmers is

too low given the financing gap required.

“The allocated resources for livestock production are not enough given the state of the national herd. The Committee recommends the increase of the resources to ensure the resuscitation and rehabilitation of dip tanks as well as the procurement of dipping chemicals to fight deadly livestock diseases.

“The reduction of the number of targeted beneficiaries under the Agriculture Productive

Social Protection Scheme from 3 million households to 900,000 in the 2023 National Budget is a major concern and will be disastrous. The number should be brought back to 3 million

with a commensurate increase in allocation.”

The total budget for appropriation to the various government ministries and departments for the

2023 National Budget is ZWL$4,495,591,700,000.

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