Give new impetus to economy

HARARE - Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa is facing a daunting task this month-end when he presents the 2015 National Budget at a time when the economy is fast going downhill, without any solutions in sight.

The most fascinating thing about the impending budget presentation is that it is coming against a background of vicious internecine factional fights in the former liberation war movement — Zanu PF — over the succession of the party’s nonagenarian leader.

It is very clear that the mud-slinging in the ruling party, which came to power last year under controversial circumstances, condemned the economy to the backside.

Since the July 31 elections last year, the economy has lost traction, deflation has set in, and unemployment has shot up while all other macro-economic indicators are headed south.

In a bid to satisfy the ever increasing revenue gap and expenditure, the government in August introduced a raft of tax measures aimed at squeezing life out of the barely surviving industries in the country.

The move did not only fail to meet government’s expectations but also piled more misery on the already tax-burdened citizens — who are struggling to survive within their means.

It is our view that Chinamasa must utilise the 2015 Budget presentation to breathe a new lease of life into the ailing economy.

The Zanu PF-led government swept to power with a thumping majority and on promises of reviving growth, creating 2,2 million jobs, and providing clean and efficient administration.

Thus, the budget must set the tone for the reforms to come and give clarity on government’s agenda, policies and its action plan to reinvigorate an economy that has grown below five percent for two successive financial years despite its potential to grow at nine percent and above.

Millions of suffering Zimbabweans are looking up to the government to make abundant provision for spending on key areas of infrastructure, starting new projects and restarting stalled ones, education, and health.

A key area of concern has been cheap imports from China. While some short-term steps should be taken to protect small and medium scale manufacturers, the government must help promote research and development with technology-led processes to ensure that our industries become competitive at the global level.

We strongly believe that government will need to work on a war footing to revive growth and support the corporate and SME sectors, which account for the bulk of industrial production and will be the engine to lead this revival.

This will also go a long way in encouraging entrepreneurship in the country and facilitate the launch of more entrepreneur-led ventures.

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