Renowned economist Eric Bloch says the government’s decision to budget for salaries of 75 000 suspected ghost workers next year smacks of corruption.
Speaking at a post-Budget meeting in Bulawayo on Monday, Bloch said Finance minister Tendai Biti’s $4 billion financial estimates for 2012 were “largely horrendous”.
“The minister recognised that public service has a total of 235 000 people and this number cannot be justified as it is not in tandem with the total population of Zimbabwe, they are just too many,” he said.
“After identifying 75 000 ghost workers, one should have expected this number to have been eliminated, but they are still included in that total of 235 000 workers.
“This just serves to prove there is some form of corruption somewhere in the government.”
Bloch said allocating 63% of the government’s total expenditure to civil servants’ salaries was an unsound economic decision, considering the Budget was silent on the Reserve Bank’s ballooning $1,2 billion debt.
“It is horrendous that the Minister of Finance was totally silent about the resolution of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe debt which is over $1,2 billion,” he said.
“By doing nothing to solve this debt, the minister is perpetuating the lack of confidence on our Reserve Bank.
“Why increase the defence Budget from $133 million to over $300 million?”
Bloch said despite overspending done by the government this year, Biti had managed to identify and include key areas particularly education in the 2012 Budget.