Govt to ensure subsidies benefit the vulnerable

Government is working on establishing a database of vulnerable groups that should benefit from the grain subsidy scheme, in a development that should stop further abuse of the programme by unscrupulous businesspeople.
This was said by the Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube in response to questions raised by parliamentarians on the programme during a question and answer session in the August house this Wednesday.
“The adjustment of prices from $50 to $70 dollars is meant to ensure that the rent-seeking opportunities which were being offered by the low prices shrink so that it becomes unattractive to hoard or side market the subsidized mealie meal. Let me hasten to say that the Government is establishing a database of all the people in the country who should benefit from the programme and the database for Harare is now complete. The one for Bulawayo will be complete by end of day today(Wednesday). The subsidy programme is not supposed to target everyone in the country but only those who are vulnerable so we will continuously review the subsisdy programme to ensure that it becomes efficient,” he said.
Also taking centre stage during the question and answer session was the issue of school fees hike which legislators questioned considering the income of the average employee in the country. With the recently gazetted minimum wage for domestic workers at ZWL$168.48 per month, legislators questioned the rationale of fees for primary, secondary and tertiary institutions.
Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister, Professor Amon Murwira responded by saying that the ministry was doing this in a bid to have a quality education at the country’s institution which is one of the pre-requisites of the constitution. He added that government was catering for the low income earners by availing the education grant and commended the august house for voting for the grant.
“We determined the level of fees based on the minimum and following procedure, what we are basically saying Mr Speaker Sir is that we have to have access to quality education, I also want to talk about whether we increased or just determined fees, our last ordinance of 2019 was in united states dollars, this is the first time since 2009 that we are putting ordinances of fees in Zimbabwe dollars, so it basically then means that we can talk about levels of fees not increases,” said Professor Amon Murwira.
The minister said the determination on whether a school should increase its fees is upon the school authorities, the school development committees and parents. He said the ministry’s role is to approve what would have been agreed by the parties and requires proof that all stakeholders contributed to the recommendations.