The speech of the President was supposed to address issues of unemployment levels. Currently, it is not by choice to get into any profession or activity that you are in. It is not by choice that we find everyone being a vendor. I was speaking to people in Binga, my constituency and everyone has become a fisherman, not by choice but because there is nothing else that one can do except to become a fisherman. In a normal working economy, Zimbabweans have a right to choose what they want to do. Those that want to start their own activities and be self employed should be able to do that. Those that want to go and work in white collar jobs should also be able to do that. But, the kind of economy that we have forces everyone to go one direction, which is being a vendor, a fisherman or a farmer and nothing else.
Hon. Speaker, we also expected the President’s speech to deal with Government expenditure and priorities in terms of disbursement of the budgetary allocations. Currently, the budget of this country does not deal with issues of welfare of Zimbabweans. Basic welfare issues that we need to look at are issues that have got to do with the health of the population, education and the welfare of the aged and the disadvantaged. Those are the kind of things that are expected from Government expenditure but unfortunately when you go and look in our hospitals, they have become shelves and there is nothing taking place in hospitals because hospitals are no longer dispensing health. Schools – I am not sure when last the Government of Zimbabwe built educational infrastructure especially in primary and secondary schools. We are no longer investing in those areas that are supposed to actually secure the future of this nation in terms of the human capital. So, those are the kind of things that Zimbabweans expected the President to deal with.
We also expected that the President would deal with issues of retention of funds that are generated in particular areas. I know that we always talk of indigenisation that there is need for people to benefit from local resources. I come from Binga where all the kapenta fish in this country is basically coming from especially during these days of forex shortages. There is no more kapenta that is coming into the country from Mozambique because there is no more foreign currency to import kapenta fish. All the kapenta is originating from the Zambezi valley and when we look at the amounts of money that are being charged by both central Government and parastatals that are operating in natural resources, they are exorbitant. But, how much of that money is going back to reinvest in those areas where the natural resources are being extracted?
We are aware Hon. Speaker that in some areas like Chiadzwa and other areas where there are minerals and mines, there are share ownership schemes that benefit the local communities but there is nothing that is happening in certain areas. I can give you an example of Victoria Falls where the rain forest and other forests are generating so much money for the country but at the end of the day there is nothing that is being ploughed back into those areas as investment in those areas. All that money is coming to Harare and how it is allocated nobody knows. There is no transparency on how the monies that are being generated from the marginalised areas is being utilized. So, our expectation is that when the President comes to speak, he should speak to those areas that are going to improve and those that have been marginalised for a long time, but we do not see anything in his speech. What we see are laws that are not going to change the welfare of the people.
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