Bulawayo residents on Tuesday gathered at the Small City Hall to express their views on what they want to be incorporated into the 2020 national budget.
The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Economic Development is on country-wide consultations on next year’s national budget, to be presented in November.
The team led by Hwange East legislator, Tose Wesley Sansole, facilitated the Bulawayo budget consultation meeting.
“The government should put more money into the health sector so that drugs become available at the hospitals,” said Anna Tshuma from the Zimbabwe National Network of People Living Positive (ZNNP+).
She said people were now living on prayers in the absence of medication at public health facilities.
Phakamani Moyo, a youth, added that Zimbabwe should adhere to the recommendations of the Abuja declaration and allocate 15 percent of the total budget to the health sector.
He called for accountability and transparency in the use of public funds.
“Address the Bulawayo water situation,” said John Gasela.
“Just yesterday Bulawayo City Council reintroduced the 48 hour water shedding. Put more money into the Zambezi Water Project,” he said.
Gasela went on to suggest that the government should also address the issue of pensioners’ pay outs.
“I worked for a company for 40 years but in 2010 I only got US$25 payout from NSSA (National Social Security Authority) and I was told the rest was eroded by inflation. I never enjoyed my pension,” added Gasela.
One participant called for the Minister of Finance to consider subsidising sanitary wear, which she said was beyond the reach of many women.
She complained that while condoms are free sanitary pads are sold even to the poor who cannot afford them.
Another resident said the authorities should get rid of the RTGS dollar and revert to the use of the US dollar, arguing that would ensure that Zimbabwe moves forward.
“We are tired of thieves that are destroying our country but are never arrested, can we be respected and be given due service,” said a resident, who said the President should deal with corruption in the country.
Some participants said there was no need for the Ministry of Defence, Office of the President and Cabinet and ‘independent’ commissions to get the larger chunk of the national cake, describing them as rather compromised.
One citizen said Finance Minister, Mthuli Ncube’s austerity measures and his two percent tax on all electronic transactions require a relook as they have inflicted a lot of harm on citizens, leaving many even poorer.