Govt destroying education sector


RURAL schools in Zimbabwe face collapse because a lot of children are registered under government’s Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) programme.

Some schools registered nearly all learners as the programme was politicised by some people seeking political positions.

It left school authorities with no option, but to succumb to political pressure and register all.

BEAM is a good idea as some families are really struggling to pay for their children school fees, but it seems the government is not a serious partner.

School authorities are now in trouble as they struggle to get even the cheapest chalk, making learning a nightmare.

For a school to operate, it needs to have a night guard, a clerk and even one ground person who must be paid.

Affected schools are in trouble as they risk being sued for non-payment of workers salary.

School at growth points that survive on Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) water supplies are being cut off by Zinwa for failing to pay water bills.

We are a month into the second term and nothing has been paid.

First term, nothing was paid and I wonder how the government thinks rural schools are operating.

At the end of the year, government expects those schools to produce good results, but how is that even possible?

Government, under pressure from teachers’ strike, instructed schools to exempt teachers children from paying fees and that further impacted on schools’ operations.

Yet again, government has not paid for teachers’ children’s fees.

I have written this letter to alert government on the situation in rural schools, where nearly all learners are registered under BEAM and school authorities are in a fix as to how they can operate under the circumstances.

Government must chip in quickly and save the schools from total collapse as many rural schools are failing to get basic requirements like chalk._Isaac Mupinyuri

Govt officials abused COVID-19 funds

A REPORT on how COVID-19 funds were used in Zimbabwe reveals several damning irregularities, prompting parliamentarians to conclude that officials unduly benefited from public funds meant for the vulnerable.

The Public Accounts Committee presented a report on the COVID-19 pandemic and utilisation of public resources in Parliament, where MPs pointed out that there was no written down procedure for identifying beneficiaries.

For instance, one individual received funds meant for several people, while money continued to be paid to some quarantine centres that went beyond their period, as no one cared to wind up business.

One unnamed company received more than US$9 million after it was paid three times for services which cost less.

We must have been told how much money was made available by Treasury and how much money was made available through donations.

If there were donations, we know that whenever money is donated to government and meant to be used for public use, it is recorded.

There is a lot of money that was donated. There was a lot of equipment that was donated and this should have been accounted for.

We suspect that it was recorded and the Finance and Economic Development ministry should have made those records available.

Parliament’s closure during the lockdown period contributed to the rot as no oversight was done to check usage of public funds.

There should not be any time when Parliament cannot assemble and do its work.

We think this is the reason why we have such a damning report. If one looks at that report, it shows that it was free for all.

Whoever wanted to benefit from this fund benefited, whoever wanted to enjoy himself benefited.

The report even says ministry officials, especially the Finance and Economic Development and Local Government and Public Works as well as maybe Health and Child Welfare ministries were not forthcoming as far as coming to give evidence to the committee was concerned and this is a serious concern.

The moment ministry officials were unavailable with important contribution meant they did not want to divulge information about the fund.

What you only hear of is money that was paid and that is all. There is no reconciliation.

There are no records actually of that particular money and the Public Accounts Act is very clear.

An officer who released the money knows precisely what records were generated and those must be made available.

If there is no reconciliation, then that person who released the money is accountable and there are measures that must be taken against that officer because it is gross negligence.

Even though COVID-19 was an emergency, it was important to process funds accordingly.

There were several situations where people from quarantine centres going to the same destination were given different bus fares.

Sometimes, one would get US$10 and another one given US$40 for the same trip.

We have situations where people would go to a supermarket and pay for groceries and not even collect it.

There is evidence in the report that OK Supermarket was paid some money for goods which were not collected to date. This is in the report and nothing has been done about it.

Why was government paying for services provided to a quarantine centre yet the number of people there were not known.

If government was efficient enough, by now we could be hearing of people who are jailed at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison because there are a lot of people who became so rich that they are destroying hills in Harare’s Chishawasha building mansions.

Questions have been asked about where they got so much money when everybody else is suffering._CITE

Financial inclusion of micro, small and medium enterprises key in Zim

FINANCIAL inclusion is a key component of many national sustainable development goals and part of the G20 agenda.

In 2016, government introduced the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS), which was inspired by the desire to ensure that economic agents are adequately integrated within existing financial services inclusive of savings, credit and insurance provided by private and government players across Zimbabwe.

Prior to this, Zimbabwe had become the 86th member of the Maya Declaration in 20121 (event sustainability management systems) and the NFIS was the country’s effort to make financial inclusion a priority for Zimbabwe’s development.

Financial inclusion is a key component of many national sustainable development goals and part of the G20 agenda.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) acknowledges the benefits of financial inclusion some of which include:

  • Promotion of inclusive and equitable development leading to poverty reduction;
  • Enabling freedom of citizens from informal lenders who charge high interest rates;
  • Faster economic growth rates;
  • Growth of formal credit sources;
  • Increased formalisation of the economy;
  • Increased employment; and
  • Enhanced financial stability.

To this end, government introduced the NFIS in 2016, and the first phase of the strategy ended in 2020. A new strategy is currently being developed and its main objective is to build upon the success of the first phase of the strategy while reshaping some aspects of implementation.

The NFIS used data from the 2014 Fin Scope survey, which highlighted key vulnerable groups namely micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), women, youth and people living with disabilities.

According to the RBZ (2020), in 2014, 23% of the Zimbabwean adult population was financially excluded without access to a bank account.

The NFIS sought to improve inclusion within various themes namely improving access of women, youth and people living with disabilities, improving access of MSMEs, improving agriculture and rural finance, improving digital financial services, improving microfinance, and improving access to insurance, pensions, and capital markets.

A recent survey analysed the impact of the NFIS (2016 to 2020) on MSMEs. A report was produced which is based on findings from the survey that was carried out across rural and urban areas in Zimbabwe.

The survey focused on entrepreneurs who run micro, small and medium scale enterprises to assess their level of financial inclusion, and understanding the progress that has been made since the NFIS was introduced in 2016.

However, gaps in the system need to be closed for robust recommendations considering that the NFIS Phase 2 planning and implementation process is on-going._SIVIO Institute

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