Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
The Zimbabwe Defence Forces will soon approach Government to be allocated farms under the land reform programme as part of efforts to generate income to augment their budgetary allocations.
This was said by the Minister of Defence Dr Sydney Sekeramayi while responding to a question by Senator Chief Chisunga in Senate on Thursday.
“As was once stated by the Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement, there are people who have occupied farms and under-utilising them. Therefore, there is need for a land audit to establish who owns which farm. Once the audit has established those facts, we will approach the relevant minister and request that the soldiers be allocated the idle farms. That is our intention; we know that our army performs its duties well,” he said.
Dr Sekeramayi said their budgetary allocations were insufficient to meet their needs but expressed optimism that the situation would improve once the performance of the economy improves.
“As we are all aware, at the moment, our budget allocated to Government departments is inadequate. This means that the same problem applies to the army. We are currently engaged in discussions with the Minister of Finance and Economic Development (Patrick Chinamasa) highlighting to him on our challenges.
“He has done his best to ensure that disbursements are made to us. Once our economy fully recovers, we believe that we will have adequate budgetary allocations. Indeed, there are farms where soldiers can go and work,” Dr Sekeramayi said.
The Ministry of Defence was allocated US$379 million but officials said this was inadequate to meet their needs and purchase new equipment. The ministry also owes local suppliers and service providers at least US$50 million.