Parliament has started preparations for the 2019 National Budget, with several portfolio committees yesterday holding meetings with Government officials on what they expect from Treasury.

Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube is expected to present his budget at the end of next month.

The ministries of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage; Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare; Mines and Mining Development; Environment and Tourism and the Public Service Commission (PSC) have already presented their expectations.

The portfolio committees of Budget, Finance and Economic Development and Health and Child Care are conducting public hearings to gather views on the budget.

Secretary for Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Dr Judith Katerera said the ministry required $253 million if they were to fulfil their mandate.

“We were given a budget ceiling of $84,4 million, but ideally we would have wanted $253 million.

“This means we will have difficulties in carrying out our mandate,” she said.

Dr Katerera added that they owed schools over $95 million in unpaid fees for the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) dating back to 2016.

Secretary for Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Melusi Matshiya said they were underfunded.

“The security sector is underfunded. We cannot queue for resources with other non-security departments,” he said.

“The ZRP is underfunded and this will compromise their mandate.”

He said there was need to upgrade the Information Communication Technology system for the Department of Immigration.

Secretary for Mines and Mining Development Mr Onesimo Moyo said the ministry of Finance and Economic Development was working on a tax model that would encourage investment.

“The Ministry of Finance is working on a revised tax model aimed at coordinating and rationalising all the taxes as they affect different ministries,” he said.

“As the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, we are also working with the Ministry of Finance on a mining fiscal regime, it is a model that will look at all taxes with a view to determine whether the level of taxes encourages investment or otherwise. It takes into account several recommendations and views from the people.”

Chamber of Mines chief executive Mr Isaac Kwede said there was need to consolidate the mining tax regime to avoid double taxation.

He said mining firms were paying royalties of 15 percent to the Government, but that money was not considered for purposes of paying taxes.

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