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How to waste $8 million in cash-strapped Zimbabwe, and what it could buy

To show just what a waste of $8 million this would be, it’s important to put into context how $8 million has been spent elsewhere in Government and commerce.

The $8 million that ZANU-PF plans to raise is just short of the $10 million allocated in the 2017 national budget to pay school fees for half a million children whose families are on welfare.

That $10 million is actually just 10 percent of what the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) actually needs.

Besides, we don’t know whether any of that money was actually disbursed.

As a result, according to a recent ZimVac survey, 63% of pupils in the rural areas are being turned away for failure to pay fees.

These dropout rates are just a number now.  Wait until we have a generation that is hungry and illiterate.  Even ZANU-PF, which thrives on ignorance, won’t benefit from that.

Some more figures to put that $8 million into context.

The $8 million covers the entire amount of $6.9 million allocated to maternal and child health care programmes in the 2017 budget.

It is five times the $1.5 million allocated for operational support to tertiary institutions.

It is four times what was set aside for stipends for college students.

If ZANU-PF does spend $8 million on congress, they would be spending almost the same amount, $9.8 million, that Government begged from UNICEF for child protection this year.

The $8 million is also what two fertiliser firms, Windmill and ZFC, each got for raw materials to supply fertiliser for the whole 2016-7 farming season.

It was reported recently that a new $70 000 dialysis machine sourced from Chinese donors for Masvingo General Hospital has been stripped of parts before it had even been installed. How many more could $8 million buy?

Executives at coal miner Hwange would be scratching their heads at this congress budget. They are begging the central bank for $4 million, half of the congress budget, to start underground mining and save thousands of jobs.

At Turnall, they need just $4 million, again half the congress budget, to keep the manufacturer of construction materials afloat.

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