By Staff Reporter
MDC Youth Assembly has called on Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube to consider slashing the budget allocation for the military adding that the country is not under war.
Minister Ncube is expected to present the 2020 National Budget before Parliament tomorrow and indications from the pre-budget seminar held in Victoria Falls a few weeks ago, the military is getting a huge chunk of the allocation.
However, in a statement the MDC Youth Assembly spokesperson Stephen Chuma said instead of splashing on the military, the finance minister should increase allocations to the health sector in line with the Abuja Declaration.
“Given that we are not in a war situation, we also expect the budget to be more inclined towards service delivery, welfare and development rather than overspending on the military and police.
“It is our recommendation that the military gets at least half of what was allocated to them in the last budget. Surely we cannot have a budgetary allocation to the military that is above countries in war situations like Syria and Afghanistan.
“As such, it is our conviction that the health sector should be prioritized as per the Abuja Declaration which says that at least 15% of the national budget should be channelled towards this important sector.
“We would want to see the construction of more rehabilitation centres especially given that more of our youths are now resorting to drugs due to high levels of unemployment. Refurbishment of clinics and hospitals should be prioritized too in order to improve primary health care for the poor,” he said.
The call to adequately fund the health sector comes at a time when government and the doctors are involved in a labour dispute which has seen the former claiming to have dismissed the latter.
Hospitals in Zimbabwe are also struggling to provide proper healthcare due to lack of equipment to use and unavailability of essential drugs among many other things.
The MDC Youth Assembly also called on the government to significantly fund the education sector which has been facing a lot of challenges.
“It is our resolve too that the education sector should be allocated no less than 20% of the national budget as per the requirements of the Dakar Declaration which Zimbabwe is a signatory to.
“We recommend that the government prioritize the funding of science and technology from primary level and vocational training centres levels.
“We need better schools and learning facilities especially targeting the periphery of the periphery where in some areas pupils are still learning under trees even in adverse weather conditions.
“As young social democrats, our ideological persuasion is anchored on solidarity with the downtrodden and as such we expect the budget to be pro-poor and shun austerity in its totality,” Chuma said.
The youth assembly says it is also expecting the budget to create jobs in a bid to reduce the high levels of unemployment in the country which is said by some commentators to be around 90%.
“Being a party that was born from the labour movement, it is also our hope that this upcoming budget will solve the impasse between civil servants and the government.
“The budget should also prioritize funding and resuscitation of industries so as to create employment in what we term, Decent Work Agenda,” said the party.
Other demands include the scrapping of the unpopular 2% tax and reducing the expenditure of the Office of the President and Cabinet.