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Government Challenged To Craft Youth Sensitive Budget Featured

Zimbabwe consists of a young bulk population which can awaken the country from its economicslumber if they are provided with adequate resources to embark on programmes that empower them.
Speaking during budget consultative meetings held across the country, young people called for an inclusive and pro-youth 2018 national budget that pays attention to the needs and rights of the youth.Below are some of the issues that the young people raised and vowed for the ministry of finance to consider.

 

Investing in Youth Health
The youths stated that there must be budgeting for the review of legislation, policies and strategies relevant to youth access to rehabilitation and sanitation services and that the budget allocations must reach or go beyond the targets of the Abuja on national health and the Dakar Declaration on education that was agreed on at the international level.Education and Decent Work for all by scaling up and increasing investments in strengthening Vocational Training Centre(VTC) so as to provide technical, vocational and entrepreneurship skills is another aspiration of the youth.

Empowerment Schemes
While young people commended the establishment of the Empower bank by the government was, they however stated that the budget should support a thorough audit/ evaluation of the existing youth and women empowerment schemes to inform future programs. The budget should also adequately support the publicity of the youth and women empowerment schemes and how the bona fide beneficiaries will access the funds. The empowerment schemes should recognise the needs of differently-abled youths particularly young women while empowering young people to establish Small and Medium Enterprises ( SMEs).

Youth participation in National Processes
The government should consult youths widely during any national policy formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation process. The 2018 National budget should formally adopt the Youth Responsive Budgeting

Framework (YBMC).
The youths also aspire the national budget to allocate adequate resources towards Research and Development so as to encourage young researchers, social innovators, and entrepreneurs to model world-class innovations that can help reduce poverty among young people. Focus should be on Climate Change, drought resilient crops and livestock breeds and other disaster management mechanisms to allow for government to plan in advance for the situations. The youth also stated that the budget must allocate adequate disaster funds.

There is also need for State Enterprises and Parastatals as a way of reforming and capacitating them sothat they focus on development and creation of revenue as compared to high expenditure. There should be involvement of key stakeholders in reforming low performing parastals. However reforming should not exclusivelytarget privatization of all parastals.The issue of Public Sector Wage Bill was also raised during this process as a way of encouraging government to address the issue of “ghost workers” and reduce executive salaries and allowances. This process will make sure that the legitimate civil servants will be well remunerated. The youths also advocated for the ‘People Centred’ 2018 national budget and that it must be strongly aligned with constitutional imperatives such that the bulk of resources are dedicated towards the realisation of constitutionally mandated economic and social rights.

For years, youths have not been actively participating in the national budget consultative process and they constitute 60% of the population of Zimbabwe.

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