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PWDs Bemoan Exclusion In National Budget Formulation

People with Disabilities (PWDs) have vowed to continue lobbying for inclusion in the national budget saying they are usually not consulted in policy making despite their unique needs and challenges.

In an interview with 263Chat, Albino Trust Zimbabwe spokesperson Bruce Nyoni commended the government for the efforts they have done so far but reckoned that more still needs to be done to achieve disability inclusive budget.

“Though persons with disabilities were included in the national budget for 2022, there still a lot that needs to be done. Social Protection needs to be boosted up especially for persons with disabilities looking at the devastating effects of COVID-19. We also hope they will keep on narrowing with gap each and every year to accommodate people with disabilities. We have noted an improvement from last years’ budget but we still don’t see much on the ground but on paper, the improvement is notable. We also hope that disbursements will be done in time,” said Nyoni.

Addressing the media recently, Director of Federation of Organizations for Disabled People in Zimbabwe (FODPZ) Leonard Marange, said they had mixed feelings over the 2022 national budget.

“We are happy with the budget announced by the Minister but not very happy because there are some provisions that we felt were supposed to be in that budget but they are not there, for example, the issue of the financial window for PWDs is not there despite that the President said it should be there. It also does not speak to how the National Disability policy going to be funded. These are the things the media should also be lobbying for answers,” said Marange.

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He urged PWDs organizations to involve the media in their activities so as to ensure their concerns reach the relevant stakeholders.

“We feel that persons with disabilities are being left out in budgeting. The moment they are left out then they are excluded from all-inclusive development interventions. So, we feel that Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) to be involved in inclusive development should start with resource allocation hence the media has to know our standpoint as PWDs,” said Marange.

Dr Christine Peta, Director for Disability Affairs in the Ministry of Public Service, Labor, and Social Welfare urged government and PWDs associations to work together to ensure inclusion in national policies including the national budget.

“The government of Zimbabwe is committed to fulfilling, promoting, and respecting the rights of PWDs. This is also demonstrated by the fact that His Excellency President Mnangagwa launched the National Disability Policy. This disability policy has an implementation plan which includes proposed funding modalities.

“The government is in the process of establishing focal units on disabilities in all government ministries thus upholding the reality that there is a disability in every sector. As a nation, we need to ensure that we have achieved disability inclusion and meaningful involvement. There is a need for active participation and involvement and presence of PWDs in every sector,” Dr Peta said.

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PWDs have been wanting inclusion in government policymaking, budget consultations just like anyone else. They need all the gaps which existed before to be closed.

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