Govt to present 2014 budget today

HARARE - Patrick Chinamasa, Zimbabwe’s Finance minister, will today present the national budget for 2014, with analysts predicting another year of depression.

Parliament is expected to approve a budget plan expected to be filled with austerity cuts that will see the debt-laden country struggling to emerge from a 10-year recession.

President Robert Mugabe has recalled both houses of Parliament for the budget presentation, which has been postponed from November amid a tightening liquidity crunch that has seen riots at banks.

“Pursuant to Section 146(1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, His Excellency the President of Zimbabwe, Cde RG Mugabe has summoned Parliament to meet on the 19th of December 2013,” said an official parliamentary notice of the President’s summons. 

“This is to enable the minister of Finance and Economic Planning to present the National Budget Statement.
This command by the President automatically amends the resolution by Parliament to adjourn business until the 28th of January 2014.”

The budget statement will be presented to the National Assembly, not to a joint sitting of both Houses, although both the National Assembly and Senate have been recalled.

Legal experts say it was  unlikely that there will be time for business apart from the budget presentation and the tabling of the Estimates of Expenditure for 2014 and the draft Finance Bill detailing proposed taxation changes. 

The budget comes against a backdrop of escalating poverty levels, with about a quarter of Zimbabweans requiring food aid.

Foreign investment has dried up, exports have fallen, and Zimbabwe’s economy is stagnating after five years of growth.

The weak economy had led to a backlog of over 2 million housing units in urban areas even as Zimbabwe was suffering a brain drain of educated workers leaving the country. The arrears on Zimbabwe’s foreign debt had risen to $10 billion.

Most international lenders have cut off funding to Zimbabwe.

Expectations are high that the budget will boost spending on public works such as dams, roads, bridges and irrigation, increase spending on social services, especially health care and education, offer tax breaks, and expansion of income tax exemptions for the poorest Zimbabweans.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe has appealed to foreign donors including the UN for emergency aid to stave off looming food shortages.

Former Finance minister Biti bemoaned the high government expenditure at a Wednesday press briefing which he said was not in tandem with generated revenue.

“We are hunting and catching a mouse, but feasting as if we have killed an elephant. It simply does not work — you must eat what you kill. We are dealing with a government that has no idea that wealth is created by producing. That to us in the MDC is totally unacceptable.”

“Zanu PF’s assumption is that money grows on trees and this has led to the destruction of a cash regime that had been created in the inclusive government over the past five years. Zanu PF has shown that it likes eating but not producing.”

Biti condemned the failure by the Zanu PF government to pay civil servants their December salaries and annual bonuses on time.

“The 13th cheque represents the only saving on the part of the worker for the whole year,” he said.

“If you fail to pay it is criminal and as a party, we strongly condemn this. Paying bonus after the Christmas holidays dampens the mood on the workforce and it is criminal and unacceptable.”

He dismissed Zanu PF’s Zim Asset economic blueprint as a “cut and paste” policy document that was impossible to implement.

Comments (2)

I remember last year when civil servants or was it war vets and civil servants who went to Biti's offices to demonstrate about pay rises and they were pestering him for more pay and they wanted to give him a hard time and they critisised Biti for not giving them a pay rise. Now, will the civil servants go to demonstrate at Chinamas's offices, now that the minister of finance belongs to ZANU PF? The answer is the civil servants will not demonstrate for pay rises at Chinamasa's offices because they are afraid of ZANU PF, so they will just keep quiet and put their tails between their legs. Chinamasa has not got a clue on how to run the ministry of finance and the economy. This ministry needs technocrats with a degree in economics and a background of experience in business administration and banking . Chinamasa is not the man to run the ministry of finance because Chinamasa is just an ordinary man who has just been plucked out of the ZANU PF crowd and told , here you are , run the ministry of finance and the man does not even know how to spell the word , "finance." The worst is yet to come with Chinamasa, because he hasn't got a clue of what he is doing in his job.

Budget Bhoy - 19 December 2013

Tarura hako Budget boy. Gore rino tichaona magaro enyoka. The circus has just started. What can Chinamasa do with his thieving buddies in the evil party? By the way ministerial appointments are not done on qualifications and merit but who has the longest tongue to lick Mugabe's ass to get a post. Nonsense. Deliver lets see. Am sure NIKUV will come to your rescue. Bhora mughedhi rava own goal manje.

vongai - 19 December 2013

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