Buhera South Member of Parliament Joseph Chinotimba yesterday asked where the government was getting money to pay members of the Independent Media Panel of Inquiry US$300 a day, with their superiors getting UDS$10 000 a month, when war veterans could not pay fees for their children.
“May the Deputy Minister please explain to us where the money is coming from? They are paying $300 per sitting yet the war veterans are not getting any funds to send their children to school. The law says that children of war veterans should be able to go to school,” Chinotimba asked.
Deputy Finance Minister, Samuel Undenge tried to evade answering the question saying it needed to be clarified and put in writing but Speaker Jacob Mudenda said it was clear.
Undenge then said he could not answer the question about how much members of IMPI were being paid because he had to verify the figures first.
Chinotimba asked why members of IMPI were being paid their daily allowances when Members of Parliament were not being paid their sitting allowance, to which Undenge responded that he did not have any facts at hand.
Q & A
*MR. CHINOTIMBA: My question is directed to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development and in his absence, I direct it to the Deputy Minister. The war veterans currently do not have funds to pay for the education of their children but we understand that there is a Committee (DMPI) that is going round the country. The Committee members are being paid sitting allowances of $300 per sitting while their superiors are being paid $10 000 per month. The Committee that is going throughout the country, I am not sure whether the Committee is called the Broadcasting Committee or Information Committee. May the Deputy Minister please explain to us where the money is coming from? They are paying $300 per sitting yet the war veterans are not getting any funds to send their children to school. The law says that children of war veterans should be able to go to school. We also need clarity on the age of the children of war veterans that you are going to pay fees for, is it 22 years? Can you also clarify where the sitting allowance of $300 for this Committee is coming from? I thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (DR. UNDENGE): Mr. Speaker Sir, I think Hon. Chinotimba has raised a number of issues and wide-ranging. So I suggest that the question be properly put in writing so then we will attend to it. I thank you – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]
MR. SPEAKER: Order, order. Hon. Minister, the question is on the policy of payment of fees for war veterans against the understanding that there is a Committee going round the country. That Committee is being paid sitting allowances of $300 per sitting per member yet Government cannot pay the fees for war veterans’ children. That is the question.
DR. UNDENGE: Mr. Speaker Sir, let me take the first part of the question. The second question on the allowances that are being paid of $300 per sitting, I will have to confirm on that and come back to you. The policy issue on payment of fees – yes, Government took it upon itself that it is indeed going to pay them and something is being worked out so that the moment funds become available, the fees are going to be paid. We take note of and that Government has committed itself to pay and certainly we are going to pay all the fees. I thank you.
*MR. CHINOTIMBA: Mr. Speaker Sir, the question that I want to ask the Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning is clear. He did not respond to it. We are the war veterans, but those people who are just going round, they are just a committee. Who does not know that ZBC is not in Tsholotsho? Why are they going there and getting those hefty sitting allowances? We, Members of Parliament have not received any sitting allowances. Where is the money coming from? Is the money coming from different coffers? If the Minister cannot pay the educational fees for the war veterans’ children, then we need to know that and take it up. Thank you.
DR. UNDENGE: I take note of what Hon. Chinotimba has said. As I have said earlier on, I have to verify what is going because he is citing that the Ministry of Information – it is a broadcasting issue which maybe a parastatal or a state enterprise. I do not have the facts at hand. That is why I had suggested that perhaps if that question is put in writing, then we can verify with the responsible Ministry or parastatal and then give an accurate answer. I thank you.