Lloyd Gumbo Senior Reporter
International organisations have pledged a $10 million grant to Parliament of Zimbabwe from this year to 2019. Financial constraints in Government saw Treasury failing to fund Parliamentary work like public hearings that are mandatory according to the Constitution.
But the coming on board of the United Nations Development Programme, the World Bank and the African Development Bank with grants is expected to ease pressure on Treasury.
Clerk of Parliament, Mr Kennedy Chokuda said the availability of funds would enable MPs to carry out their mandate.
“We are expecting the World Bank and the African Development Bank to come on stream beginning this year which will add to our resources,” he said.
“The resources are going towards enabling Parliament to play its oversight role since the majority of it will go towards portfolio committees’ work while the other part of the grant will go to purchasing of equipment for Parliament.
“This is indeed a welcome development because Parliament will be able to carry out its work without major constraints,” he said. The United Nations Development Programme has availed $4,8 million under the multi-donor support programme where the European Union is contributing $2 million, Sweden $1,8 million and $1 million by the UNDP from 2015 to 2017.
The World Bank is also chipping in with $3 million from 2016-2019 while the African Development Bank has availed $1,8 million from 2016-2018.
The legislature has been facing serious financial challenges since adoption of the multi-currency regime in 2009 which saw MPs failing to carry out some of their Constitutionally-mandated duties.
Mr Chokuda told MPs who attended the pre-budget seminar in Victoria Falls last year that part of the money from the UNDP had already be used for public hearings on the Gender Commission Bill, General Laws Amendment Bill, Joint Ventures Bill, RBZ Debt Assumption Bill, Public Debt Management Bill and the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Amendment Bill.
The grant was also used to sponsor field visits by the portfolio committees on Lands, Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development; Health and Child Care; Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare and Defence and Home Affairs.
He also revealed that Parliament spent about $420 000 every week that both the Senate and National Assembly sat.