SPEAKER of Parliament Advocate Jacob Mudenda has bemoaned lack of economic literacy among some of the Members of Parliament saying this was negating efforts to steer the country forward.
Speaking during a panel discussion at the 6th CEOs Africa Round Table meeting in Victoria Falls yesterday, Adv Mudenda said Parliament needs quality in terms of personnel and political persuasion.
“I’m worried about the level of politicians that come to Parliament. There are few who can articulate issues in Parliament. If you look at different portfolio committees we involve politicians from different political persuasions but sometimes we don’t have quality in terms of personnel and economic literacy in Parliament,” said Adv Mudenda.
He was responding to concerns about lack of capacity by Parliament to addresse issues such as budget deficit.
Adv Mudenda said in 2014 he produced a book on economic literacy for Members of Parliament and organised a training workshop which was adjourned prematurely after the majority of Parliamentarians failed to grasp issues.
“I produced a book in 2014 because we realised there was a problem. We also held a seminar and asked them what a budget was. There was no answer and we had to postpone the seminar,” said Adv Mudenda.
In an earlier presentation, the Speaker of Parliament challenged business to engage Government on issues of concern.
“Businesses should engage Government and Parliament through the appropriate Portfolio Committees in a robust fashion to create the legislative environment that supports their vision. It is also imperative that business proffer ideas on how the State and all its agencies improve accountability to its citizens. Section 149 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe empowers you to petition Parliament to craft or abolish laws with a view to create a conducive business framework,” said the Speaker.
He said the Parliamentary Committees are a link between business, citizens and Government.
Adv Mudenda said the business sector should foster innovation, regional integration and economic synergies.
He said the whole continent needs business executives whose ideology seeks to improve the lives of ordinary citizens and not engage in a useless orgy of intellectual idealism.
“Our continent longs for a crop of CEOs who can see beyond the ambiguity and challenges of today as we work towards Agenda 2063. As CEOs, I challenge you to influence political leaders to come up with clear strategies of integrating economic regions so as to achieve mutual growth,” he said.
Adv Mudenda said Public-Private-Partnership models are key to the continent and country’s growth.