The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee for Education, sports and recreation has asked why the government is renting offices when there is space at government offices.
To make matters worse the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education is in arrears.
Committee chair Kenneth Musanhi said this seems to apply to the Ministry of Sports as well. It is renting and is also in arrears.
“We have observed this on all Ministries. It looks like they are accumulating rentals from rented space and yet there are a lot of free Government space buildings which they are supposed to use and stop utilising the scarce resources that are needed for something else,” Musanhi said.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government has pledged to cut down government expenditure but things seem to be as they were before he took over.
The issue of renting offices while there is space in government buildings raises the question of who owns the buildings that are being rented.
HON. MUSANHI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I am going to present a report from the Ministry of Education, Sports and Recreation. The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education is directly responsible for one third of the population’s education in Zimbabwe, yet the budget does not seem to show that responsibility. If you look at the budget that was allocated to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, you find that 93% of the budget is going towards the employment payments, leaving 7% of the budget for capital expenditure.
The teacher to pupil ratio is always going high. Funding burden is given to NGOs and parents. So, this must be looked at on the budget so that it could be revised towards looking at how important the Ministry is. Glen View Primary School is a shining example of how a school is supposed to be running. We observed that if all schools are run in that way, the Ministry will not spend a lot of money in terms of allocating funds to schools etc. The Committee recommends that the Ministry of Primary and Secondary occupies Government space and to eradicate the cost of rentals because they are in arrears right now and they want to pay rentals. So, because of that, we recommend that they occupy Government space buildings.
Budget allocation must exclude employment costs. We recommended that in future, I think the employment costs must be put direct to the Ministry of Public Service so that the budget will reflect the actual capital expenditure that is going to be used by the Ministry of Education. More teachers should be recruited in light of the growing learner population. Six hundred teachers are to be recruited and priority to ECD teachers should be given. The burden of employment costs for ECD teachers should be given to the Government and not parents and donors.
On Ministry of Sports, Arts and Recreation – Accumulated rentals in light of unutilised space of Government buildings. We have observed this on all Ministries. It looks like they are accumulating rentals from rented space and yet there are a lot of free Government space buildings which they are supposed to use and stop utilising the scarce resources that are needed for something else. The Minister’s car rental which is bleeding the Ministry must be paid by the Office of the President and Cabinet than to bleed the Ministry’s scarce resources that was allocated.
As we have said, there is a lot of free space in Government buildings, we recommend that rented space must be occupied in Government buildings. A Statutory Instrument to increase lottery entitlement from 5% to 15% must be in place. The Ministry of Home Affairs and Culture must honour the release of these funds to the Ministry of Sports and Culture. I thank you.