World Bank waits on Mthuli Ncube

HARARE - The World Bank (WB) says Finance minister Mthuli Ncube, should announce measures that inspire confidence and support current efforts to revive the economy when he presents his maiden budget statement today.

Mukami Kariuki, the WB country manager for Zimbabwe said Ncube has already highlighted key issues that will feature in the national budget such as fiscal consolidation, as well as strengthening the transitional stabilisation programme.

“Everything now depends on the budget and we will see how the minister will be able to incorporate such measures that will be critical to enhance confidence within the economy,” she said.

Ncube is presenting the 2019 National Budget in Parliament this afternoon at a time the economic crisis in the country continues to deepen, characterised by a debilitating liquidity crisis, a severe cash shortage, rising inflation and skyrocketing of prices and shortage of basic commodities.

“I think government is taking steps to try and bring the prices down through various measures such as opening the local market to imports.

“Government is also engaging private sector and we hope that it will be able to stabilise the inflationary pressures. This will be aided if the national budget will be able to inspire confidence and help stabilise the inflation by assuring the public and private sector on what needs to be done,” Kariuki said.

The WB boss further indicated that other critical issues that will drive economic recovery include reducing government expenditure.

Early this month, the government proposed to reduce the civil service and rationalise foreign service missions in a move aimed at reducing the country’s high wage bill which currently stands at over 90 percent.

The Finance minister told delegates attending a 2019 Pre-Budget Seminar held in Bulawayo recently that the country is currently sitting on a 92 percent wage bill and the government is utilising hefty amounts of its income on salary payment leaving no fiscal space for infrastructure development.

He said rationalisation of foreign service missions simply means cutting down of embassies like having one ambassador for three or four neighbouring countries with one office, a move which will ultimately result in the lowering of the wage bill.

This will mean that there is likelihood of only one ambassador for neighbouring countries like South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho who are in the same “geographical bloc”.

Zimbabwe has more than 20 missions abroad and some legislators have previously called for the shutting down of some arguing that Harare had no meaningful business with most countries.


 

Comments (1)

As a followup of the story, what was World Bank's comment

Sama - 27 November 2018

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