Good budget but lacks clarity on fundamental reforms

This post was originally published here

We need to give credit where it deserves. On principle the budget was really good, inspiring but lacks clarity on fundamental reforms.

Chinamasa highlighted several areas which needs urgent attention but failed to address issues of electoral reforms, human rights issues and corruption as a major obstacle to economic progress.

I still have a strong question why he failed to address the real issues affecting livelihood in Zimbabwe, poverty levels and unemployment rate, he simply made several projections but he didn’t clarify measures to curb economic and political crises.

To me Chinamasa I don’t see him to be a catalyst on our failed economy.

He doesn’t sound good on economic projections but however we must give credit to some areas he touched and hopefully it will be implemented.

Previously the current Zanu PF government is known for crafting good documents with sound information but the implementation is a very big challenge.

He talked of corruption but he didn’t dwell much on that area knowing very well that he is part of a system that is very corrupt it will be very difficult to dwell much on that area and at the same time, he knows that he may end up touching the nerves of other important people in society.

He talked of industrialization which is a very critical area. We can’t survive as a nation without any functional industry these are some of the areas which needs to be tackled.

Maybe ED gave some ministers another chance to redeem themselves from their past. Honestly we have lost a lot of revenue as a nation because of leakages which ZIRA failed to curb. He talked of shortages of foreign currency which needs to be addressed.

However I thought the Government would tackle the issue of a blue print which will address these key fundamental issues.

When reforms are addressed, then investment can flow directly, then the whole country can begin to generate a lot of foreign currency.

Mending the economy is not an overnight thing it needs a lot of wisdom, first economic reforms should be addressed then investment will flow.

He didn’t touch on the issue of senior Zanu PF people and Government officials who are avoiding taxes, the very same people who were sitting in Parliament who are not remitting taxes to the treasury and at the same time they make selfish claims on allowances and salaries but their companies are not remitting taxes.

He should have clearly told them that honey moon is over ZIMRA starting tomorrow should begin to do their work efficiently.

We have senior Zanu PF chefs and strong politicians who are not paying electricity bills and some of them have high electricity bills amounting to millions of dollars and how do we expect the economy to grow when we have such kind of people in this country.

He talked of critical sectors of the economy such as Agriculture such as Agriculture, mining, infrastructure development and tourism which is good however those sectors need efficiency service and reforms.

For example agriculture is a good sector but the problem most farmers will loot farming inputs and they will use their political muscles to take as many inputs as possible without a drop of cent and they get away with it, and this is what Minister Chinamasa should be talking about that honeymoon is over for farmers you must learn to eat what you kill.

If this principle is implemented it will bring a lot of positive results back home.

Chinamasa did not highlight how the issue of external debt will be addressed, and he didn’t tell us how much we owe other countries, he never mentioned faithfully the details surrounding the funding of command agriculture, who was funding it and the expenditure, audit and other issues, there were so many things which were taking place during Mugabe’s era and those details were never made to the public.


Turning to the mining sector, there are a lot of leakages and that issue he never talked about it and I’ve a big question on that one, how much gold do we have in our reserves, and the issue of gold panning, those gold panners are not remitting taxes mainly because they are mainly from of political runners and that is why gold revenue will never find its way to the coffers of this country, most of the proceeds from minerals or royalties will never find its way to the national treasury because of politics at play.

We still have a long way to go. He also talked about the issue of addressing cash challenges, liquidity crunch, and interest rates in banks which is also critical.

He also talked about increase of cash withdrawals and my question is why not addressing the issue of black market.

He avoided the issue of black market because most people who are controlling black market are those top politicians who were sitting in parliament today listening to his budget.

I liked it when he talked of 3700 youths who are mainly ghost workers particularly known as youth officers, though they are far way below the expected number, we are aware that ghost workers can reach up to 60 000 if public service audit is done.

I thought Chinamasa would talk of working with the public service to address the issue of ghost workers, they are more than 3700. This could be a political figure.

He also talked of cutting foreign missions, in other words most diplomats may be seen coming back home, most of them have passed way retirement age and Mugabe was still keeping them in Government for known political reasons.

We are a small nation and we are not a threat to anyone so why having embassies in almost every country, when we have a string budget like this which drains the fiscus? He also highlighted the issue of privatization of most companies which is good.

We have so many state companies which are not serving any national interest and why keeping them? So let’s hope he will stick to his word.

Some of them can be merged to other state companies because they are having duplicating roles, most of these parastatal bosses are getting hefty allowances from the treasury and in return they don’t bring any economic benefit to the nation.

He talked of the indigenization and empowerment law which needs to be amended, that’s a good move but he needs also to walk the talk.

I heard today an instruction was given to freeze assets and financial accounts belonging to G40 are they the only criminals in Zimbabwe who were externalizing foreign currency? I thought there are necessary steps taken before you can implement such an idea? These guys should consult first because most investors are watching to see if the drama unfolding is real in economic sense.

He didn’t highlight the issue of human and electoral reforms since they require budgetary constraints he was supposed to have highlighted the importance of having electoral, human and fundamental reforms.

They are all important for economic growth. We still have a problem with ZEC, because it is staffed with the military personnel and this has to be addressed.

We didn’t hear the issue of those who owe the Government and also the RBZ debt which was handed over to the Government.

Are those people who were part of the mechanization scheme going to pay back? Or it’s swept under the carpet? I’m shocked why defense got a higher allocation and health ministry getting a low figure, I’m afraid to say let’s hope we are not going under a military state, or it is a payback to soldiers who participated in the smart coup.

BUDGET ALLOCATIONS FOR KEY AREAS OF THE ECONOMY

EDUCATION – $905 000 000.00
LANDS – $497 381 000.00
HOME AFFAIRS – $435 471 000.00
DEFENCE – $420 364 000.00
HEALTH – $408 000 000.00
HIGHER EDUCATION – $316 974 000.00
FINANCE – $332 395 000.00

Those willing to support the cause of SIPAR TRUST responsible for policy and Research kindly email me on [email protected]

Tinashe Eric Muzamhindo writes in his personal capacity as the Head of Southern Institute of Policy Analysis and Research – SIPAR TRUST, which is responsible for policy Analysis and Research. He is also an academic and researcher. He holds a BA, M.A from Solusi University, and he also holds a Masters of Development Studies from University of Lusaka, Zambia. He is currently enrolled at University of Kwazulu Natal University in South Africa (PHD in Development Studies). He is also an advisor to many financial and political institutions within and outside Zimbabwe. He can be contacted at [email protected]