Professor Mthuli Ncube,  Finance and Econmic Development Minister, on Friday said government has spent $167 million this year towards war veterans’ welfare

The Minister mentioned this while speaking at a meeting with ex-freedom fighters in Bulawayo on Friday.

Ncube said the Government had also allocated ZW$37,5 billion dollars to war veterans under the 2021 National Budget with an equivalent of US$37,5 million set aside to finance their projects.

“The National Development Strategy recognises the crucial role of freedom fighters played in the liberation of this country hence your welfare must be taken care of as a matter of priority. We gave your ministry ZW$37,5 billion under the 2021 National Budget in line with the development strategy which was launched by President Emmerson Mnangagwa,” he said.

The minister said although Government is giving war vets financial support through pensions, assistance with education for their children and medical support, that is not enough.

“We looked for other funds and we got US$37,5 million to support your projects and benefits. We will put the money in the war veterans fund because the War Veterans Act requires Government to set up a fund for war vets.

“This fund is for your development so that you are self-sustainable. We will give you mining assets in gold, chrome and other minerals that will be part of your fund,” he said.

He added that in each province, the veterans would be given farms and tourism assets to add to the fund.

“Within a short period of time you will have a huge company that will be run by yourselves. As Government, we can only assist so that there are corporate governance structures and monitor those who will be running the company

“Under your benefits we have increased your salary to ZW$8 800 after we increased all salaries by 41 percent. On medical expenses we had given you $17 million but we have given you $34 million because of demand.

“On War Victims Compensation Fund, we had given you $6,7 million but we have paid $11,6 million. Altogether we gave you $167 million this year towards your affairs with other additions. We will continue to increase your benefits,” he said.

Prof Ncube promised to assist in getting funding for war vets to undertake and finish some of the projects they are planning at their 10 000 square metres piece of land in Entumbane, popularly known as Emaplankeni. Some of the projects include building a hall, green houses, chicken rearing project, bakery, fisheries, securing the place as well as adding more boreholes.

“I will try and assist you get affordable loans and the issue of interest rates that are affecting you will have to be looked at. But the issue of pioneer war veterans who are incapacitated has touched me. They need urgent assistance and will see how best we can assist them,” he promised.

Some of the freedom fighters raised concerns about their welfare asking the Government to pay them salaries above the poverty datum line. Prof Ncube said the Government is working on improving economic performance so that their welfare is improved as well.