CONSULTATIONS for the 2015 National Budget have begun at a time when government is battling to finance the current $4,1 billion budget.
Finance and Economic Development deputy minister Samuel Undenge told delegates at the Mine Entra conference at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo on Wednesday that internal workshops with other ministries were currently being done.
The development comes when the 2014 National Budget is under stress due to low revenue collections coupled with a salary hike agreed between government and civil servants in January and effected in April.
Government’s salary bill amounted to $2,6 billion last year, or 68% of the total budget, which totalled $3,8 billion.
The current budget has no provision for salary increases.
Undenge said they had held meeting with Ministry of Mines and Mining Development officials.
“Internal workshops on the 2015 National Budget have been made. We are looking at the tax regime in the mining sector. We note that there are multiple taxes that are being paid. Those tend to cause confusion.
“We hope to rationalise the tax regime. The budget would include several incentives for the mining sector and would be presented in November,” he said.
This week, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa told Parliament that the Mid-Term Budget Review statement was highly unlikely to be announced anytime soon.
Chinamasa said he had been too busy and away for a long time to find time to craft the review statement.
“I am looking at whether it is necessary for me to do the Mid-Term Budget Statement because I had been away and it is a matter that I had not paid attention to,” Chinamasa said.
“I will have to check whether I can use my discretion on the Mid-Term Budget Review and whether it is a statutory obligation,” he said.
Presenting the 4,1 billion budget last year, Chinamasa projected that tax revenues were anticipated to constitute $3,824 billion, with the balance of $296 million being non-tax revenue.
The budget is also being weighed down by a high debt overhang resulting in limited and highly priced lines of credit to fund it.