Economic Updates - Featured - Finance - December 18, 2020

Citizens must participate in Budget Formulation: ZIMCODD

By Amanda Jojo

GOVERNMENT has been urged by the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) to conduct public hearings on the Budget formulation in an effort to ensure transparency and widespread participation by all relevant stakeholders through imploring views and opinions.

The Budget Strategic Paper came out in October but did not give citizens enough time to study it and make submissions.

Presenting findings of the survey conducted by the ZIMCODD, Vincent Chakunda indicated that more still needed to be done in order to enhance citizen participation in the budget-making cycle.

“Timeous availability of critical budget documents is still an issue, people assume their views are not considered when their participation is not valued in the budget process,” Chakunda said.

Chakunda also highlighted the hesitation by citizens in partaking of the consultative meetings on the basis that their views are never factored in the process, lack of sufficient notice with regards to the meetings, timing of meetings, and technical language.

“People also feel dis-empowered when their participation is not valued in the budget process, they assume their views are never considered and this appears to be an already predetermined thing,” he said.

Chakunda also emphasized the inefficiencies in local authorities that generate fertile ground for corruption, lack of transparency, and accountability because the budget-making process is disjoined from the strategic plan.

Last month, ZIMCODD executive director Janet Zhou-Mago also lamented the marginalisation of women and girls in the budget formulation process at the Reflection meeting on the 2021 Pre-Budget Strategy Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance, and Economic Development.

“It is worrying to note that that the Budget Strategy Paper mentions in only nine times as if to ignore feminization of poverty, and lack of access to finance and wealth inequalities that are experienced by women and girls. The Budget Strategy Paper should do more for women and girls,” Zhou said.

To enable transparency, there should be relevant information dissemination platforms, creation of safe places for citizen participation, the strategic choice of venues, and times for meetings as well as simplified language explaining budgets.

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