(Last Updated on December 2, 2020 by GERALD NCUBE)
HARARE – MDC-T acting leader, Thokozani Khupe has challenged government to be more practical in it’s approach to budget issues and ensure that it addresses the needs of various groups particularly the vulnerable including children and women among others.
Khupe shared these sentiments when she was speaking at the 2021 National Budget Reflective Meeting hosted by the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) in the country’s capital on Tuesday.
“When we talk about the budget, let us not theorize. Let us be practical because last week the Minister of Finance presented figures. What is left is for those figures to then translate into a better life for all,” said Khupe during her presentation.
The recently sworn in member of parliament highlighted that the budget fell short in terms of allocations to women, citing that there was still more to be done in terms of funds availed to the Women’s Bank which was set up to try and close the gap between men and women in terms of access to financial resources.
Khupe also said the country should focus on agriculture and mining as the two pillars had the potential to drive the county’s economy out of the doldrums.
She said focus on agriculture was going to restore the country’s economy, adding that this sector used to create employment for a huge percentage of the labour in the country and contributed 40% of the foreign currency inflows.
She also said investment in agriculture was key to achieve food security in the country.
“We must stop importing food from other countries because we have got enough land. Zimbabwe has got 10 000 water bodies and we have the capacity of cultivating more than 2 million hactares of land using those 10 000 water bodies,” she said.
“The other sector that we must look at is mining. I think what is needed in mining is that we must move away from being primary producers. Let us stop selling raw materials, let us start selling finished goods.”
She also added that: “If you look at platinum for instance, it comes out with 10 other minerals but we are selling it raw and when it gets to South Africa and it is processed they get 10 other minerals…
Khupe urged Fidelity Printers to start buying gold using 100% foreign currency, arguing that this would lure people to start selling their gold to the company instead of finding other buyers outside.