Abigail Mawonde Herald Correspondent
FINANCE and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa has bemoaned the size of Parliament saying it is too big for the economy and population. In a ministerial statement in Parliament last week, Minister Chinamasa set parallels with countries like Japan and the United Kingdom with better economies and huge populations but fewer parliamentarians. He said joint efforts were needed to reduce the wage bill.
“Again, Honourable Misihairabwi-Mushonga, I agree with you that we have to reduce the wage bill, but it is not an easy walk in the park. If I came to Parliament and said, for instance what we agreed in the new Constitution is not sustainable, let me be very frank with you; it is not sustainable.
The size of this Parliament is not sustainable, but if I came and say let us amend, there will be populists’ sentiments,” he said. Minister Chinamasa said the country’s population did not require many legislators.
“Yes, there is no way. Our population is 14 million and we have about 350 Members of Parliament. Japan with a population of 90 million has something of that size in Parliament. We do not have that size of economy like Japan or the UK. No, but I am saying it does not need to come from me. Nothing stops you from bringing a motion to say let us reduce the size of our Parliament. You have the power to change the Constitution,” he said. Minister Chinamasa said it required everyone’s efforts cut the wage bill.
“I am merely saying this in order to provoke debate, so that you do not always think that the Minister of Finance and Economic Development alone can reduce the wage bill. It is all of us. We know the size of our Government and our Parliament, all that expense is unsustainable.” It is like we are using Parliament as a source of employment and not a platform to represent the interests of the people,” he said.