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‘Expanded Cabinet puts Budget under stress’


PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe further strained Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa’s delicate $4,1 billion 2015 National Budget when he last week appointed two new Vice-Presidents and created two new ministries that had not been factored in the budget presented to Parliament last month, economists have said.


Mugabe last Friday unveiled an expanded Cabinet including an Economic Planning ministry headed by demoted party chairman Simon Khaya Moyo and the War Veterans Welfare ministry led by Christopher Mutsvangwa.

Economist Godfrey Kanyenze said: “The President’s decisions were more political without taking into consideration the economic situation of the country. Resources will be further constrained after the creation of two new ministries and appointment of two Vice-Presidents to a bloated government.”

Mugabe also appointed Vice-Presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko. The new ministers received their spanking new Mercedes-Benz saloon luxury vehicles and the Vice-Presidents will soon move into new State houses.

The two new ministries will also need office space, office equipment and human resources that include principal directors.

On the other hand former Vice-President Joice Mujuru will also be receiving a monthly pension for life equivalent to the current salary of a sitting Vice-President.

The developments came as ministries last week complained that Treasury had allocated them fewer resources than they bidden for.

A government economist who declined to be named said: “The decision will further worsen the hamorrhaging economy and in this scenario when politics clashes with the economy, politics unfortunately always wins.”

Chinamasa was not immediately available to comment how he would finance the new ministries from the Budget as presented. The Budget debate will kick-start in the National Assembly today.

Meanwhile, National Constitutional Assembly leader Lovemore Madhuku has applied to the Constitutional Court seeking the nullification of Mnangagwa and Mphoko’s appointments, arguing that the appointments were unconstitutional and a further strain on the Treasury which was struggling to fund capital projects such as water and energy.

The matter is still pending before the court with no date set for its hearing.

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