Social sector hangs in the balance, 70% funded by donors

MUTARE – At least 70% of the country’s social sector is funded by the donor community an untenable situation according to officials.

UNICEF chief of social policy, Samson Muradzikwa said this scenario is unsustainable as it would plunge the sector in a quandary in the event that the donors withdraw their support.

Muradzikwa’s remarks come at a time when 82% of the national budget is exhausted by employment costs leaving very little for non-wage costs.

Hence, the social sector encompassing expenditures on medicines, medical equipment, textbooks in schools, teaching materials, borehole drilling among others are predominantly done by donors.

“The government through the fiscal resources is able to pay for employment costs and very little for capital expenditure or any other non-wage costs and therefore these non-wage costs are being bone predominantly, 70% by the donor community.

“And that is what in the medium to long-term is unsustainable,” he said during an interview at the sidelines of the provincial launch of the Zimstat Multiple Indicators Cluster Survey (MICS) recently.

Muradzikwa said government should expedite its reforms agenda to create fiscal space and win itself from donor dependency.

“We need to improve economic performance, the government revenue should improve in order to support the social sector and for government to win itself from the donor dependency.

“That is the element that we are saying eventually we should – as a country need to be able to support those sectors without depending on donors.

“Because what would happen in the next year or two if donors decide to withdraw their support? You then get problem, so that is the area of sustainability that we are trying to address,” he said.

Government is already looking at measures of creating fiscal space under its reforms agenda.

The reforms agenda will see government looking at trimming its wage bill, introducing pension reform, economic policy to stimulate investment and economic growth.

Muradzikwa said given that these measures are implemented, the country’s economic growth rate will improve from the current 3% per annum to 6-7%.

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