Finance minister Tendai Biti on Tuesday told Parliament Zimbabweans suffered from what he termed “fisculitis”, a condition he described as spending from the fiscus without due consideration of the credit side.
Biti was responding to debate on the Finance Bill 2011 in the House of Assembly.
The Finance Bill passed through third reading stage in the House of Assembly, which means the MPs have endorsed Biti’s Mid-Term Budget Review.
“The problem with this country is not lack of capacity to generate revenue, but the problem is on the expenditure side where this country suffers from ‘fisculitis’, a situation where you just spend oblivious of the credit side,” he said.
Biti said people had a tendency of just eating like broiler chickens which did not understand why they needed to eat and ended up dying of excessive fat.
“Our challenge is going to be managing our Budget deficit of $700 million — the $200 million from the extra wage bill — and $500 million, which is arrears to service providers and funding of the constitution-making process and losses to parastatals,” he said.
He said the next 18 months were going to be tough from an economic point of view, because the Budget was basically a salaries Budget, where 60% was going to salaries of 225 000 civil servants while the remainder was to cater for 13 million people.
Goromonzi North MP Paddy Zhanda (Zanu PF) said the discord in the Executive was sending wrong signals to investors who had lost confidence in Zimbabwe.
“As long as we continue doing that, we are telling the world that our house is not in order. The time that the Executive spends discussing the government of national unity is unfair because we want the same time to be allocated to discussing issues on the plight of the poor,” Zhanda said.
Makoni West MP Webber Chinyadza (MDC-T) said Zimbabwe should never dream of enhanced revenue as long as the Executive failed to deal with the bloated size of the government, which he said was not commensurate with fiscal space, as well as the issue of 75 000 ghost workers in the civil service.