Members of Parliament (MPs) have urged the government to benchmark their remuneration against neighbouring South Africa while requesting that they bring spouses to official accommodation during August House sittings.
The MPs also voiced their frustrations over inadequate accommodation, delayed allowances, and unfulfilled promises of car loans and duty-free vehicle imports during a recent budget debate.
Zanu PF Insiza South MP, Spare Sithole called on the government to allow MPs to bring their spouses during official parliamentary business.
“Hon. Minister, may we also have a benchmarking analysis like in South Africa in terms of Hon. Member’s remuneration? May we also be given the privilege of bringing our spouses so that we stay together in the hotels,” said Sithole.
The Insiza South MP also questioned the fate of previously promised US $80,000 car loans that decreased to US $50,000 by the end of the previous parliamentary session.
“In the previous Parliament, the 5th Session, you promised us vehicles which were at $80 000.00, but at the end of the session, you said the vehicles were now $50 000,00 so there was a difference of $30 000.00 which we thought we would be given as cash. So as we are passing this budget, are we going to be given that difference,” queried Sithole.
Zanu PF women’s quota MP from Midlands Province, Tsitsi Zhou called on the Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion Mthuli Ncube to engage the central bank on behalf of legislators.
“I would like to contribute to the issue of the accommodation for Members of Parliament. We are being offered poor services to the extent that at one point, I was bitten by mosquitos,” said Zhou.
“May the Hon. Minister have a dialogue with the Central Bank so that we get loans to buy houses for our accommodation instead of being accommodated in hotels? At a decent accommodation, we can cook healthy food and we are also able to provide ourselves self-service.”
Zhou also emphasized the issue of delayed sitting allowances, which hinder MPs’ ability to effectively carry out their work, including public consultations.
“Furthermore, on the issue of sitting allowances, they should be disbursed timeously. We have a lot of work to execute in this House, for example, we go out for public consultations, and thus we appeal to the Minister to consider our plea for the timeous disbursement of allowances.”
Mwenezi North MP, Master Makope raised concerns about lingering issues from previous administrations, such as outstanding car loans for newer MPs and expired duty-free certificates for second vehicle imports.
“My issue is on the welfare of Members of Parliament. I want to look back, during the Ninth Parliament, there was an issue of outstanding vehicles for the 26 Members of Parliament who had joined lately.
“My question is, has the issue been included in the 2024 budget? On the issue of duty-free, Members of Parliament had no money to go and import these cars to the extent that the duty-free certificate expired without Members purchasing those second vehicles,” said Makope.