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Government settles $19,2bn BEAM arrears

by Staff reporter
12 Mar 2024 at 05:11hrs | Views
GOVERNMENT has paid over $19,2 billion to primary schools around the country, to settle 2023 arrears of learners under the Basic Education Assistance Module (Beam).

Beam is a national school assistance programme, launched by the Government in 2001 to assist orphans and vulnerable children. Financing of the programme mainly comes from the Government and development partners.

Responding to concerns over delays in paying Beam funds during question time in Parliament recently, Deputy Minister of Public Service and Social Welfare, Mercy Dinha said the Government has paid over $19,2 billion of the overall total arrears of about $560 billion.

"An amount totalling $19 233 085 029, has been paid to settle 2023 arrears for primary schools across the country. The total arrears for primary schools are $425 215 440 000. For secondary schools, the total arrears are $142 496 265 000 and the total is $567 711 705 000," said Deputy Minister Dinha.

This was after Emakhandeni Luveve Constituency legislator, Mr Discent Bajila, asked the Deputy Minister to give a breakdown of Beam arrears owed to schools province by province and the plans that have been put in place to offset the arrears.

Deputy Minister, Dinha then revealed that the Treasury has been engaged to clear the aforementioned arrears and $50 billion was allocated for the first quarter of 2024. She went on to give a breakdown of each province and the amounts owed, with Bulawayo schools owed over US$2 million and Harare US$18 million under Beam.

"The actual release is ZW$30 billion, which is being processed. For Bulawayo, we have 49 schools and the amount per term is US$703  490 and the total for the three terms is US$2 110 470. For Harare we have 58 schools that are under Beam and the total, all in all for Harare for Primary schools is US$18 050 688," said Deputy Minister Dinha. She said that Mashonaland Central has 314 schools under Beam owed US$3 794 226 while

Mashonaland East has 12 primary schools that are under Beam and the total owed is US$158 955.

Mashonaland West has 107 schools under Beam and the total amount in arrears is US$1 885 410 while Matebeleland North has 262 schools under Beam owed about US$2 036 364. In Matebeleland South, 233 schools are owed US$2 388 150 under Beam. Manicaland has 669 schools under Beam and the total in arrears is US$7 350 897 while in Masvingo there are 606 schools under Beam, with arrears totalling US$6 628 986.

Deputy Minister, Dinha said all in all, the provinces are owed US$28 159 146 in total. She said there are also schools that provide their statements in rands mainly in Matebeleland North, South and Masvingo provinces. She then made a breakdown for secondary schools by province that the Government owes in terms of Beam, which amounts to over US$9 million. Secondary schools that give their statements in rands are owed over R1,4 million combined.

Legislators further asked if concerned Government ministries were in conversation to ensure that these monies get to the schools at the earliest possible time, before they lose value to inflation.

Source - The Chronicle
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