Former Finance minister and Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn (MKD) president Simba Makoni has described the 2012 National Budget as full of good sound bites, but devoid of substance.
“There are nice and attractive sound bites in the budget, but hardly a serious discussion,” Makoni told a post-budget meeting in Gweru on Tuesday.
“He allocates $38 million to the Tokwe-Mukosi project, but what can be achieved with that money?
“He gives $8 million to the 210 constituencies under the Constituency Development Fund, leaving $38 000 for each constituency, but what can Mkoba do with such a figure?”
The losing 2008 presidential candidate also criticised the allocation of 63% of the budget to civil servants’ salaries.
“Quite clearly civil servants are important, but so are the rest of the citizens,” Makoni said.
“How can the rest of the nation be catered for? The budget is not providing for the rest of Zimbabweans.”
He also called for the relaxation of the tax burden on both businesses and individuals.
“If you lighten the tax burden, compliance will be increased,” Makoni said.
“Business would try every trick in the book to avoid paying tax if it is too high.”
In an unrelated matter, the MKD leader described the much-touted indigenisation policy as racially-driven and meant to reward Zanu PF leaders who were already rich.
“There has been much concentration on saying prior to political independence in April 1980 there were people who were economically disadvantaged, but this has been narrowed to mean black people,” he said.
“What if Simba Makoni came from an affluent background at independence, but a John Smith who happens to be white did not?
“Who then should qualify to be economically advantaged and benefit under the indigenisation programme? Genuine indigenisation is not a matter of one’s racial background.”
He said Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere’s idea of empowerment appeared to be “dishing out $1 000 to youths and women to do projects”.
“But we have bureaucrats who sit in offices and steal project ideas,” Makoni said.
“They will tell youths that their project proposals have not been successful, but go on to give their relatives and friends the same proposals and give them money.”
Makoni was a Zanu PF politburo member until he challenged President Robert Mugabe in the 2008 presidential elections where he came third in the first round won by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.