Over $5 million will be gobbled by Members of Parliament in allowances and accommodation in Victoria Falls.

At least US$500 000 will be spent on accommodation for the five days for the 350 legislators. Elephant Hills charges $248 per night for a single guest.MPs from Masvingo and Matabeleland were given fuel coupons so they could drive to Victoria Falls while legislators from other provinces flew from Harare.

An MP who spoke to the Standard said they were paid $3 200 in per diems ahead of the seminar. This means that more than $1 million will be splashed on per diems for conference delegates.

MDC secretary-general Chalton Hwende yesterday defended his party’s participation at the seminar despite the costs, saying there was no way they could have boycotted.

“Pre-budget seminars are always held out of Harare and we can’t boycott the budget process because we must fight and ensure that it is pro-poor,” he said.

“If you look at the quality of debate that we raised at the seminar and the issues that we brought to the fore on behalf of our constituencies, you will realise that it was more than important for us as MPs elected on an MDC ticket to be there.”