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Welcome Remarks and Opening Address
Mr. Kwashirai welcomed the participants and outlined the objectives of the seminar. He indicated that ZES, ZNCC, ZCTU with support from FES had co-organised the seminar to create a forum for stakeholders to do a critical analysis of the 2000 budget and come up with meaningful contributions that can influence change. He said that the initiative was taken in light of the planned session for Parliamentarians to discuss the budget with the government. The discussions and deliberations at the seminar were expected to influence Parliamentarians to make more informed discussions on the issues of concern regarding the document and enable them to influence change for the betterment of the budget. The Parliamentarians who were expected to attend the seminar failed to turn up. However this report would letter be circulated to Parliamentarians to sensetise them on issues raised in the seminar.
Mr. Masuku opened the session by highlighting the relevancy of the seminar. He indicated that the budget was coming at a time when the country is facing serious problems at the political front and these are being manifested at the economic front. As such, he had expected the budget to have been more positive than what was presented. Mr. Masuku indicated that Zimbabwe had not yet learnt to use the budget effectively. The budget concentrates on paying salaries and collecting revenue and does not provide any indication for strategic options and solutions to the countrys economic problems. Mr. Masukus address cited the absence of objectives in the budget to reduce unemployment, inflation, interest rates and to stimulate growth as serious weaknesses.
He condemned and described as tragic the factoring of donor funds into the millennium budget. He indicated that the Government had been warned by ZNCC in October that the IMF would not give them any money, but had continued to factor IMF funds in the budget. He concluded by recommending the need to find Zimbabwean solutions to Zimbabwean problems. He also indicated that that there was need for discipline, self-dependency, a good fiscal policy and planning if the budget is to work.
He encouraged participants not to give up on lobbying and advocacy, but emphasized that this should be supported by research (facts and figures). He also urged participants to come up with important arguments and recommendations which Parliamentarians can depend on in pressing for a correction of the budget. Mr Masuku observed that civic organisations may have been talking to the wrong people by lobbying politicians and
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recommended that there is need to lobby Parliamentarians who will be discussing the budget.
© Friedrich Ebert Stiftung | technical support | net edition fes-library | August 2001