THE Foreign Affairs ministry has described the $56 billion that Treasury plans to allocate to it in the 2023 national budget as insufficient to rehabilitate the country’s embassies at various missions.
This was disclosed by Foreign Affairs ministry secretary James Manzou yesterday when he appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs to speak on the ministry’s proposals for the 2023 national budget.
Over the years, the Foreign Affairs ministry has been complaining that Zimbabwe’s embassies are in a sorry state and needed more funding from the fiscus to rehabilitate them.
Manzou said the ministry lobbied for $110 billion for the 2023 budget, but Treasury had only promised $56 billion.
“The budget expenditure target for finance and non-financial assets is thus too inadequate in light of the ministry's envisaged purchases, construction and major repair works,” Manzou said.
“The ministry has various construction plans, major repairs and facelift projects for chanceries, ambassadors’ residences and office houses at various missions. Guest houses in Harare are in need of refurbishment as well, and this will require substantial funding for targets to be met. The ministry is also looking at outright purchases of chanceries and residences at selected missions.”
Manzou said there was need for good image building at the country’s embassies as an asset to the diplomatic strategy of promoting the country to foreign parties.
“Adequate funding target for the ministry is part of a crucial step towards the attainment of Zimbabwe’s upper-middle-income status by 2023. The allocated budget will not be adequate to meet the ministry’s requirements considering the deplorable state of our properties, which does not portray the true image of the country. Major construction works will be undertaken in 2023.”
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He said international trade would provide good opportunities for the ministry.
“A favourable balance of trade is achievable if we can fund the basic facilities and requirements for our diplomats. Increased funding for the ministry is a noble investment,” he said.