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Parliament urges government to upgrade local universities to save money on foreign scholarships

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members. Can Hon. Dr. Mataruse be heard in silence? Hon. Minister of Finance, I want you to be listening to the Reports by the Chairpersons.

HON. DR. MATARUSE: 4. The high performance computer programme remains key to modernisation and economic development. This budget item received no funding in 2018. The Committee recommended that the high performance computer be given US$6 million for space expansion so that the Chinese Government owns up to the US$5 million grant for equipment they promised. In addition, the high performance computer programme should collaborate with other service providers of related services to avoid duplication of efforts.

The Cadetship programme owes $35 million to training institutions. The Ministry requested for $10 million to clear the outstanding debt. The Committee recommends Treasury to clear the debt as it affects the running of the institutions. The Committee also noted that although scholarships are now under the responsibility of a newly created Ministry for scholarships, the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development still needs to clear outstanding scholarship issues, including ensuring that all outstanding stipends and agreements are honoured.

In addition, the Committee recommended future awards of scholarships to target local universities and colleges unless capacity to train the specific fields is not locally available. This will help the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in reducing pressure on foreign currency allocations. The Committee also suggests that upgrading of some local universities to international standards will help so that parents send their children at local universities. This will also reduce pressure on foreign currency resources. The Committee also recommended efficient control and financial accountability systems to the Ministry’s statutory bodies such as colleges, universities, ZimDef and other specialised projects to limit leakage of resources. Thank you very much.

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