Budget to support $3,9trln gender-sensitive projects Presenting the 2019 national budget, Finance and Economic Development Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube said the administration of the tobacco levy by TIMB had not served its intended purpose of financing conservation initiatives in the country. 

Nelson Gahadza-Business Reporter

THE 2023 national budget directs $3,9 trillion towards gender-sensitive programmes across all sectors of the economy, 94 percent of the total expenditure planned for next year as a result of bringing gender equality and sensitivity into the mainstream.

Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube presented to legislators last Thursday a $4,5 trillion million national budget for 2023.

Minister Ncube said resources under the gender-sensitive budget will cover equal opportunity, gender-specific and mainstream expenditures that largely benefit women and girls as well as other disadvantaged groups.

“To facilitate effective mainstreaming of gender issues in the budget cycle, Treasury will prioritise disbursement of resources in support of gender-sensitive programmes and will institute monitoring mechanisms to track gender budget expenditures on a quarterly basis,” he said.

Minister Ncube said the budget will also offer equal opportunity gender-sensitive expenditures for which men and women, boys and girls, are given equal opportunity to benefit fairly and equally at each level.

These expenditures include among others employment costs, institutional provisions, housing development loans, staff development programmes, financing for tools of trade and other conditions of service obligations.

The employment costs component received the largest share of the resources availed, with 131 047 female employees constituting 55 per cent of total establishment set to benefit from the resources availed compared to male 108 359 employees.

However, 2 671 of the male employees hold decision-making positions, with only 851 female employees in managerial positions, representing 24 per cent of total people in decision-making positions.

Minister Ncube said for the country to achieve gender parity at decision-making level in line with Chapter 17 section (i) of the National Constitution, the State must take all measures, including legislative measures to ensure that both genders are equally represented in all institutions and agencies of Government at every level.

“Ministries, departments and agencies are encouraged to implement capacity building programmes targeting female employees for promotion into decision-making positions,” he said.

The gender-sensitive budget provides for $2,39 trillion in support of equal opportunities programmes, representing 57 per cent of the 2023 national budget.

The Treasury chief said the amount included employment costs relating to grant-aided institutions amounting to $898 billion.

“A total of 239 406 employees are set to benefit from these interventions of which 131 407 are female employees, representing 54 percent of the total employment,” said Minister Ncube.

In 2023, the budget targets  $1,5 trillion support to mainstream gender budget expenditures relating to agriculture, health, social welfare, education and economic empowerment programmes. The allocation constitutes 35,7 percent of the national budget.

Under agriculture, the budget targets to avail $128 billion towards agriculture programmes, of which $96,7 billion is earmarked for climate proof agriculture production programme code named Pfumvudza/Intwasa with the objective to reduce poverty among the vulnerable households and achieve sustainable food security at household level.

Minister Ncube said a total of 900 000 vulnerable households will be targeted, of which 300 000 households are from urban areas.

“The programme involves provision of agriculture input seeds, fertilisers and army worm chemicals to vulnerable households to produce cereal and oil seeds crops as well as provision of animal disease control services.

“The other components supported through the budget include capacitation of institutions responsible for provision of extension, advisory and training services as well as supporting livestock production programmes.

“The components are set to receive a 2023 budget support of $31,3 billion and to ensure the inputs reach targeted beneficiaries, the Government will institute measures to track distribution of inputs and collect gender disaggregated performance information under each programme,” he said.

The 2023 gender sensitive programmes under social service are set to receive budget support amounting to $174,1 billion representing 4 percent of the 2023 National Budget.

Under health service delivery programmes about 60-95 percent of the expenditures majority of the beneficiaries are either women, girls or men and boys as well as persons living with disability. The minister said programmes under the Economic Empowerment category recorded expenditures of about 54 percent in 2022 of the revised allocation, with programmes such as the upgrading of rural roads and bridges, borehole drilling and small dam construction and irrigation development receiving 78 percent of the revised allocation.

Most programmes significantly contributed towards rural development, where the majority of women reside.

“It is recommended that ministries, departments and agencies prioritise disbursement of resources towards these programmes as they have huge potential to contribute to inclusive and sustainable economic growth,” he said.

So as to facilitate effective mainstreaming of gender through the budgetary process, Treasury with the support of UN Women, capacitated six pilot Ministries in gender-responsive budgeting. This will be extended to the rest next year.  “MDAs on their part, plan to embark on both gender awareness and capacity building in gender mainstreaming.

“To promote effective mainstreaming of gender into economic policy and budgetary process, it is proposed that gender mainstreaming be part of the performance contract for accounting officers,” said Minister Ncube. 

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