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Mr Emmanuel Ndlangamandla, CANGO executive Director made the following contributions in terms of prioritization for the National Budget:
The Coordinating Assembly of Non-governmental Organisations Secretariat would like to make a contribution on what the national budget should contain. As an organisation we are aware that plans for presenting the budget to the nation are now in an advanced stage. Hence, our contribution might have missed the critical timeframe. However, we would like to present our wishes and what we expect to see in the budget.
A healthy nation is a productive national, to this end we would like to reminding the government that they committed to allocate 15% of the national budget to the Ministry of Health (Abuja Declaration). We also would like to state that the maternal and child mortality remain a huge concern in the country and resources need to be invested in this area.
The impact of HIV and AIDS in the country is well documented. It is critical that the government continue to allocate resources so that we invest in prevention, care and support as well as in impact mitigation measures. As Global Fund is transitioning to a new funding model, the information we get is that Global Fund resources may no longer be guaranteed and hence the need for countries to invest more in their HIV response.
Our Government also committed to allocate 10% to the Ministry of Agriculture (Maputo Declaration). This will ensure that the country invest in Agriculture which will go a long way in stimulating the sluggish economy, as communities will be enabled to venture into agriculture and thus alleviate chronic hunger in some households and also help them raise some income to benefit poor families. The high farming input costs are an impediment to poor families.
We also appeal that the government should continue to invest in the education sector as it is the main vehicle through which poverty can be reduced in line with the Millennium Development Goals. The availability of scholarship to children from poor families is very critical. Hence, the need for the government to invest in this area. We appreciate the Free Primary Education, OVC Grants and the scholarships. We observe that scholarships are no longer accessible for children from poor families because of the Scholarship policy shifts which favour children from rich families who access schools with better education facilities and thus obtain better grades.
We are pleased that the government has committed itself to social protection programmes so that the vulnerable in society including the elderly, disabled and orphaned children are assisted. We appeal that funding for social protection programmes continue to be made available to relevant Ministries and also to be increased.
We also appeal that the Human Rights Commission and the Anti-Corruption Commission should also receive adequate funding so that the country effectively fights corruption and also guarantees the rights of citizens in particular the most vulnerable.
Disaster management is another critical area that the government should support. The impact of Climate change is affecting every country. Hence, the need for national preparedness and responses programmes to be well funded.
Job creation should also be a critical area where the budget should be directed to. There is evidence that young people bear the brunt of unemployment in the country. Also, the country cannot improve domestic funding if the economy continue to shed jobs as well as not create employment opportunities especially for the young people. There is need to continue to invest in the Youth Fund and Small Business Enterprises and also provide resources that will support the business eminent so that the country improves its business and investment competitiveness. The Civil Society Economic Roadmap also proposes a number of areas where the government can invest.