‘Budget an economic horror script’

THE opposition MDC yesterday said Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube’s silence on currency distortions in the 2019 National Budget presented on Thursday demonstrated government’s reluctance to deal with the root of the problems that have seen prices pegged in the local bond note shooting through the roof.

BY OBEY MANAYITI

Observers have also expressed concerns that the pricing of basic commodities would remain beyond the reach of the majority of citizens earning their keep in bond notes.

Retailers have resorted to pegging their prices in United States dollars — which are currently scarce on the market — while customers wanting to pay in bond notes or plastic money have to pay the US dollar price.

MDC spokesperson Jacob Mafume said his party believed the budget was a self-conflicted document, with nothing to celebrate as most of the reforms proposed were built on quick sand.

Ncube presented his budget with a raft of reforms meant to cut spending and inspire confidence in the local economy — something which some analysts said was a positive move — but failure to deal with currency discrepancy is set to make life difficult for the majority of citizens.

“The lack of clarity on currency issue is at the centre of the multi pricing system and a decisive Minister ought to bite the bullet and make a decision on the matter,” party Mafume said.

“Yet, Mthuli, in his budget, ignores the distortions being caused by the bond note. He proves beyond reasonable doubt that he is scared of the raw State power which is in the hands of Zanu PF hardliners and securocratic oligarchs, who need to maintain a printing Press of sorts for purposes of patronage.”

Mafume described government’s proposal to arrest run-away expenditure as “pub talk”, as they will continue printing bond notes so that they can fund Zanu PF activities and the lifestyles of the elite.

Mafume said Ncube should have proposed the demonetising of the bond note and revert to a proper multi-currency regime, outlining a path towards joining the rand monetary union.

He said there was a foreign currency crisis in the country because of the unproductive environment affecting Zimbabwe’s industrial sector.

The opposition also said it was disturbed by the marginal allocation to independent commissions and failure to deal decisively with the land issue, among other topical matters.

“With all due respect, this budget is a continuation of the old order of economic lethargy, economic destruction, corruption and patronage. It does not even address the issue of the usurious 2c a dollar this government is fleecing from innocent Zimbabweans.

“The token reduction of 5% from the salaries of the well-heeled is so measly it will not make any positive impact,” he said.

Other stakeholders who spoke to NewsDay Weekender said the requirement on car importers to pay duty in hard cash made no sense, given that workers did not receive their salaries in hard cash.

Vendors Initiative for Socio-Economic Transformation (VISET) described the budget as “an economic horror script”, especially for those eking out a living in the informal sector.

“Hence, we state at this stage that the 2019 Budget is an instrument of economic attack on the poor and struggling masses while simultaneously opening up Zimbabwe for massive exploitation by foreign capital,” said VISET executive director Samuel Wadzai.

He said the budget dashed whatever hopes they had of seeing informal sector players evolving into big formal businesses.

“The policy pronouncements via the national budget have dealt a heavy blow on the formalisation of the informal sector drive. A cocktail of taxes and payments demanded by government will only push the informal sector into retreat,” he said

Combined Harare Residents Association Mfundo Mlilo said the budget was full of contradictions, and Ncube failed to take the bold steps needed to deal comprehensively with the country’s soci-economic challenges.

He also said there was insincerity on the budget allocations and priority was misplaced.

“The budget is contradictory because on the other hand, it attempts to give a corrective diagnosis of the Zimbabwean problems, but on the other, he cherry picks what to address. The minister understands the problems that we are in, but when you go into the contents of his statement, you don’t see any commitment to deal with the real problems,” Mlilo said.

14 Comments

  1. Jacob Mafume waffling as usual, and of course representing the party aparently driven by evil spirits. We have only known of negative attitude from you and nothing else. Can you Jacob tell us how the apeal to America to mantain sanctions on our nation helps the welfare of the citizens of Zimbabwe! How does inciting your supporters to go on the rampage in the streets contribute to the revival of the economy? How does encouraging your rowdy supporters and Mps to subotage parliament business help in the reconstruction of our economy? Until we hear you seriously denouncing Us sanctions on our country like Strive Masiyiwa did, your relevance in any effort to make our nation work will remain a very big joke and an insult to our comon sense.

  2. Well we appreciated what the minister of finance has done on his budget proposal, but the mistake which he did is on the clarity of the value of the Bond note which has been juxtaposed at par with the USdollar.

  3. Ngondi Kamupinya

    It seems nowadays,most comments are coming from state security agents

  4. Ngondi Kamupinya

    Nhire,you are a real Kangaroo…when did America start taking orders from any nation,let alone MDC?…sanctions were because of the land issue.

  5. Nhire,you are a real Kangaroo…when did America start taking orders from any nation,let alone MDC?…sanctions were because of the land issue.

  6. Proudly Zimbabwean

    For the Newspaper, what are the proper Economists saying with regard the budget.

    1. Good question because some newspapers are behaving as if they are the publicity department of the MDC.

  7. State security department is a useful and lawful aspect of our nation and it is for the security of our whole nation. Every nation has a coresponding arangement known by various designations. If some agents from such an organisation are making contributions in discussions such as this, then they are doing a great job as long as their effort is contributing in some way to the security of you and me as citizens of Zimbabwe. Let me be quick though to mention that one does not need to be a state security agent to know that championing negative peceptions about our nation will practicaly not do anyone any good. We cannot curse ourselves day in day out and then expect the almighty to bless us. Zimbabwe now needs peace, love, harmony, honesty, cooperation , faith and hard work in order for prosperity to take root. If any kangaroos are endowed with such good characteristics, we may have to import some from Australia and we will have a lot to learn from them as a nation.

    1. With all due respect Nhire your contribution is misplaced what the MDC have done or not done is not the issue here, the issue is they have given their take on the budget what’s yours simple? You cannot dismiss a fellow Zimbabwean like you (if you are one) from discussion a matter of public interest like the budget simply because you have certain allegations against them. I am surprised you claim to be an advocate for peace and love yet you have such dogged views about your fellow Zimbabweans( remember the MDC has got support of close to 50% of Zimbabweans). Move an inch from your dogged position in reaching out to your neighbour in the opposition and see how that helps in bringing the peace and love that you are so fond of, it begins with you. Can you imagine how much plaudits President Mnangagwa would have received if he had stopped the police from forcibly removing the MDC MP’s from parliament whether what the MP’s had done was wrong or right?

  8. WE WERE EXPECTING TOO MUCH FROM THIS MAN (MTHULI). WHEN PROFESSORS JOIN ZANU PF THEIR CREDENTIALS FALL AWAY BECAUSE ZANU PF DOES NOT NURTURE BRILLIANT PEOPLE. JONATHAN MOYO IS ONE VERY GOOD EXAMPLE. FROM BEING A BRILLIANT ACADEMIC TO NOTHING AS FAR AS ZIMBABWEANS ARE CONCERNED. AND ZANN PF WILL BRING IN MORE PROFESSORS AND ALL OF THEM WILL BE COLOSSAL FAILURES. MTHULI KNOWS EXACTLY WHAT HE SHOULD DO TO TURN AROUND THE ECONOMY BUT THE LEASH AROUND HIS NECK WILL TIGHTEN IF HE FOLLOWS HIS OWN SCRIPT. THAT IS WHY I SALUTE PEOPLE LIKE DR SIMBA MAKONI FOR RESIGNING FROM HIS POST OF MINISTER OF FINANCE A FEW YEARS AGO. HE WAS DIFFERENT AND HE WAS A MAN OF PRINCIPLE.

  9. This budget is good only what I see is wrong is the bond note remaining in the systemse

  10. The budget was good the issue of currency is a toll order we have 9.6 billion in RTGS so we must first deal with that then we start talking about currency reforms

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