MEMBERS of Parliament have demanded an increase in their allowances, saying they play an important role in the running of the country.
Led by Norton independent MP Mr Temba Mliswa, the MPs across the political divide have demanded that their allowances be reviewed upwards because they work hard representing their constituencies and the country at various platforms.
“Our allowances mean absolutely nothing. The committee that I chair can sit from 8am to 8pm working for this country but what they get is a paltry $75, not US dollar. MPs are people who are working tirelessly for this country in these committees,” said Mr Mliswa.
“Being in the committees carries a risk on its own because they expose people who have money and who have the ability to even put a mafia together to deal with MPs on their behalf and what do we get — $75. That has to be reviewed so that MPs are able to execute their duties in a professional manner,” he said.
He urged the Government to also review allowances that they get when going on duty out of the country.
“I’ll also talk about the allowances that we get when we leave the country. The allowances that we get are US$50 when leaving Zimbabwe. It’s not enough. The Minister of Finance and Economic Development has to look into this and increase that allowance.
“There must be credit cards which are given to MPs when they travel and they must account for them when they come back, not this situation where we get money that is not enough even to buy meals,” said Mr Mliswa.
The MPs also demanded cars that are suitable for the terrain in their constituencies.
Mashonaland West proportional representation MP Goodluck Kwaramba urged the Government to improve the welfare of legislators.
“I rise to make my contribution on the welfare of MPs regarding the cars which are allocated to us. Being an MP is a very tough task, especially for those who come from rural constituencies. The car which is given to the MP is a service vehicle which is used in the constituency,” said MP Kwaramba.
“Even when there is a funeral, that car is used at that funeral and yet servicing the car is a very expensive exercise. At times we are not able to service the cars because of the expenses involved and our salaries are not enough,” he said.
He said sometimes MPs were forced to use public transport to conduct their duties due to failure to service their cars.
“Due to the situation, we’re forced to use commuter omnibuses to conduct our business. We’re saying, may the Government please expedite the process of allocating us vehicles for moving around because as stated before, the cars given to the MPs are service vehicles,” he said.
“It’s a universal car for the constituency. Whatever assignment has to be done in the constituency, the electorate expects that car to carry out those duties. I am pleading with the Finance Minister to increase allowances for better cars so that the MPs can maintain the integrity and status expected of them.”
In response, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube promised MPs that they would get Toyota Hilux twin cab vehicles soon.
“The issue of vehicles is under control. We’re dealing with it. MPs will get vehicles and I think we had even agreed on the model and if my information is correct, unless they have changed, the model is a (Toyota) Hilux twin cab,” said Prof Ncube. He did not respond to the request for a review of allowances.