By Daniel Chigundu
SPEAKER of National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda says Parliament is going to resolve all issues to do with the welfare of parliamentarians’ by end of the month (October) following a heated 1hour 30 minutes side meeting at Padhari Lodge.
MPs in the 8th Parliament of Zimbabwe got into office in August 2013 but have never been given sitting allowances from that date up to now and they are owed about US$15 million.
Zimbabwe has 350 Legislators and each one of them is supposed to get US$2 000 per month as salary and US$75 as sitting allowances per day.
However these allowances have not been coming prompting legislators to cause early adjournment of House sitting on Thursday and threatening to boycott the pre-budget briefing seminar.
In an interview with the media, Honourable Mudenda who had to cut short his annual leave to resolves the near crisis said they had agreed to solve the issues with the new Finance Minister Ignatius Chombo.
“It was the issues of service and that was the major issue and we should be able to resolve these issues before the end of the month with the new minister and I think everybody will be happy. However in terms of budget and Parliament being underpaid the ball rests with them as MPs because they are the ones who pass the budget but they have been passing the budget all the time without any qualm.
“So the ball is in their court and they are raising issues right at the end of the 5th session of the 8th Parliament which issues should have been raised since 2013 and attended to.
“The IPads is a question of administration putting in place what the requirements are from our development partner, as I said the development partner had said all our requirements should be put together with ministries of government but now we have agreed to aggregate the IPads from the requirements of the ministries and I believe we should be able to get them the IPads in the next month or so,” he said.
Honourable Mudenda added that on top of the US$15 million owed in allowances to legislators, Parliament also owes hotels and service providers US$3 million for legislators’ accommodation.
The Speaker said “I have already engaged the new minister and he is ceased with the matter and he has appointed a committee of senior officials in the ministry of finance to specifically look at issues that affect Members of Parliament so that we resolve the majority of them by end of this month,” he said.
Besides the 8th Parliament arrears, there are still some legislators from the 7th Parliament who are yet to be paid their sitting allowances and a few legislators are yet to receive their vehicles since 2013.