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Mthuli agrees to set aside equipment budget for defence in forex

By Staff Reporter

Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube has agreed with Parliament to set part of the defence budget in foreign currency adding that the call is genuine.

Legislators argued that since Air Force of Zimbabwe requires various materials and equipment which are not manufactured in the country there was a need to set part of the defence budget in foreign currency.

Speaking in the National Assembly during the 2020 national budget debate, Minister Mthuli Ncube said he felt it too that there has to be a foreign currency component to the defence budget.

“I know the point raised by Honourable Albert Nguluvhe (Beitbridge East) specifically because this I have felt it, which is around making sure that when we budget for Defence, we have to budget for the forex element, especially the Air Force because of the nature of the equipment which we do not make here.

“But at the same time, I am suitably impressed by their skills in managing their equipment.

“I repeat that I am suitably impressed but nevertheless, we have to budget for the forex.  So, I am alive to this and we really make sure that we accommodate them as much as possible,” he said.

The decision will, however, come as a slap in the face of the health sector which has been having challenges in trying to procure drugs and hospital machinery and equipment due to shortage of foreign currency and the Minister has not done the same for the sector which is deemed critical.

Just this year the country almost lost the opportunity to benefit from Global Fund for failing to pay US$6 million mandatory subscriptions to the organisation and it had to take petitions and demonstrations for government to commit.

To add to that there is not enough cancer treatment equipment in the country despite the fact that cancer has claimed many lives lately and is almost overtaking HIV/Aids in terms of killing people.

This is not the first time that defence has been favoured in the national budget at the expense of other sectors, for example, the defence usually gets a bigger share of the budget.

Some Zimbabweans have always argued that there is no need to channel more resources to the defence since the country is not under threat.

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Daniel Chigundu

Daniel Chigundu is a male journalist in Zimbabwe and has been practising since September 2009. He used to the editor for The Business Connect (newspaper) in Harare, has his own news website Tourism Focus which is biased towards the tourism sector. Daniel is also working with Magamba Network on their project called Open Parliament where they do live coverage of Parliamentary activities on Twitter and Facebook. He is currently the secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Parliamentary Journalists Forum, is a member of Zimbabwe Small Broadcasters Association and a board member of Digital Communication Network. He holds a Diploma in Communication and Journalism from the Christian College of Southern Africa (CCOSA), a certificate in Youth leadership training from the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), a certificate in Citizen Journalism from Magamba Network and is currently a first-year student at Zimbabwe Open University studying for a Bachelor of Arts Honours in Ethics and Organisational Leadership.

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