Ministries Besiege Mthuli Over Inadequate Budget

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By Anna Chibamu

FINANCE minister Mthuli Ncube is under attack from almost all line ministries over the inadequate budget allocations for 2022, with the latest assault coming from the ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.

Ncube announced a $927,3 billion budget against a total bid of $2,7 trillion that line ministries had presented in Victoria Falls during a pre-budget seminar.

On Thursday Primary and Education ministry bemoaned a $2billion budget allocation for the newly introduced Continuous Assessment Learning Activity (CALA) instead of a bid amounting to $3 billion.

Speaking at a post budget consultative meeting with the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Education, ministry’s finance director Betty Wenjere said the funds they were allocated can only help them train less teachers than expected.

“When the new syllabus came in, we wanted to train all the teachers, but the budget was not sufficient, and we started with the exam classes only. This year we have managed to train examination classes teachers. With the budget allocated to us, only 2250 teachers will benefit from the CALA training programme out of the budget allocated to us. We would want to train all the teachers, but the budget was not sufficient,” she said.

“We started to train exam class teachers, but we are going to train teachers on phases. The budget is not sufficient and those who were trained were supposed to administer exams only,” Wenjere said.

Wenjere told this committee that teachers will be trained in a phased approach giving priority to those taking exam classes adding that out of the bid they did for textbooks, the funds allocated are insufficient.

“We made a bid for the procurement of textbooks of $3 billion but the ministry of finance managed to allocate only $2 billion. The funds are in sufficient for O and A level student textbooks for provinces and capacitate staff members,” said Wenjere.

Legislators have expressed disappointment over the inadequate budget allocations by Treasury.

Most budget allocations have not been disbursed in the past budgets derailing uptake of projects by ministries and their departments thereby slowing down development.