The allocation of $27.5 million for industrialisation against a bid of $306,510 million sparked heated debate at parliament with the Industry and Commerce Parliamentary Portfolio Committee resolving to summon the Minister of Industry and Commerce to appear before the committee to explain if the 91 percent deficit on the allocation is justified.
A post budget review analysis by the portfolio committee saw the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe presenting the state of affairs on the availability of basic goods like flour ahead of the festive season.
“We are currently under stocked owing to lack of adequate foreign currency allocation, the festive season demand is high and we might fail to provide all the basic necessities,” GMAZ President, Tafadzwa Musarara said.
Second on the agenda were senior officials from the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, led by the Permanent Secretary, Mrs Abigail Shonhiwa, who were grilled for failing to justify why the proposed budget for industrialisation of $306 million suffered a 91 percent deficit in the 2019 budget presentation.
“Are you satisfied with the allocation by the Finance Minister considering the 91% deficit as well as considering that industry is critical sector the new dispensation is focused on?” asked Mr Farai Musikavanhu, the Acting Chairperson of the portfolio committee.
In response, Mrs Shonhiwa said over $40 million was allocated to the Zimbabwe Industry Development Agency (ZIDA), which is being established through the parliamentary process.
As espoused in the Transitional Stabilisation Programme(TSP), industrialisation is a key driver of economic revival and the paltry $27.5 million budget allocation provoked the industry and commerce parliamentary overseers, who concurred that they will not rubber stamp it until the Minister of Industry and Commerce justified the 91% deficit.