Bulawayo citizens, young women, Civil Society Organisations this morning (Friday 10 September), noted that the failure by government to consult citizens on the allocation of the Special Drawing Rights impedes on transparency and disempowers citizens from participating in key national decision making processes.
Zimbabwe received the equivalent of $961 million in Special Drawing Rights (SDR) from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), part of the $650 billion that the IMF is distributing to its members.
SDRs are reserve assets issued by the IMF, backed by dollars, euros, yen, sterling and yuan.
Speaking during a Public Finance Reform Indaba organised by Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD), Campaigns Officer for ZIMCODD Angellah Mandoreba highlighted that the SDRs are coming at a very opportune time for the fiscal status of Zimbabwe and will be a boost to the economy.
“This amount is very critical when it comes to the socio economic situation of the country it needs to be utilised in a transparent and equitable manner so that the efficiency of this key resource, is realised” she said.
The SDR is expected to be channelled towards public sectors such as health and productive sectors such as industry, agriculture, infrastructure development, to resuscitate the country’s foreign currency reserves and as contingency funds.
“We need mechanisms in place that will strengthen our oversight systems such as the parliamentary oversight so that the 961 million is put to good use and for the benefit of the citizens. We need to ensure transparency and accountability.
“We have the Constitution of Zimbabwe, the Public Finance Management Act which should guard the conduct of office bearers however, there is disregard of the rule of law year in year out and non-compliance. The Auditor General has on several occasions pointed out mismanagement of funds and proposed steps for redress but there is non-compliance and no interest to address these public resource leakages in Zimbabwe,” explained Mandoreba.
Participants who attended the meeting highlighted that there is need for prudent utilisation and prioritisation of such funds which remain key to the economic turnaround of the country.
Participants proposed that in order to increase efficiency and effectiveness of the SDR, citizens need to ensure that the finance ministry produces monthly reports giving citizens an update on the utilisation of resources and these will assist citizens to engage in social accountability monitoring.
Citizens were encouraged to engage in public expenditure tracking. The Auditor General should also be able to engage in periodic special audit reports that evaluate emerging projects and funds such as the SDR.
The meeting was also attended by Member of Parliament Dr Thokozani Khupe who said vast resources in the country are going down the drain and citizens need to rise and demand transparency and accountability from parliamentarians.
“Let’s not allow corruption to devour our SDR, lets not let this become a cancer because if we relax we may lose out on key developments. We want this money to be used for what it is intended for such that access to basic services improves.
Parliamentarians such as honourable Nicola Watson and Honourable Illos Nyoni also highlighted that as parliamentarians they will continue to play an oversight role on public finance management so that these funds are adequately utilised.
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