The Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs will visit the country’s embassies in Ethiopia and Botswana from November 15 to 19 this year in a bid to understand operational challenges being faced by diplomats manning the missions.
In a statement yesterday, Parliament of Zimbabwe said the visit was in line with statutory requirements under Section 299 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, which compelled Parliament to exercise oversight role on all State expenditure including foreign missions.
Chairman of the committee, Cde Kindness Paradza, said the country’s diplomats were required to refocus attention and vigorously encourage trade, investment and tourism in line with the country’s economic blueprint Zim-Asset.
“It’s no longer business as usual for our diplomats. They now have to change their style of doing things and instead, deploy their various diplomatic skills in identifying specific economic interests to be pursued wherever they are for the benefit of our motherland.
“But for this task to be a success, we need as a country to resource our diplomatic missions and motivate staff so that they will in turn deliver excellent services in line with Zim-Asset. As it is, our diplomats are owed over $12 million in salary backlog stretching for over nine months,” said Cde Paradza.
The committee will for the first time since the opening of the current 8th Parliament in 2013, conduct an inquiry into the state of affairs at Zimbabwe’s foreign missions.
The trip is facilitated by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in conjunction with the European Union (EU) and Swedish Development Agency (SIDA).
These field trips will be used as an opportunity to assess the proposed promotional campaigns that the country’s embassies are now engaged in to complement government’s efforts in attracting foreign direct investment in line with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ policy priorities between now and 2017.
He said his committee had been divided into two teams, with five members visiting Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and the other travelling to Gaborone — Botswana.
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