HomeLocal NewsBiti tears into Ncube’s budget

Biti tears into Ncube’s budget

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Harare East MP Tendai Biti (MDC Alliance) yesterday tore into the 2019 National Budget presented by Finance minister Mthuli Ncube, saying it violated the Constitution for charging duty on vehicles in foreign currency and incorporating the military in the enforcement of traffic fines.

BY VENERANDA LANGA

Contributing to debate on the Finance Bill in the National Assembly, Biti, a Finance minister during the government of national unity, which ran the country between 2009 and 2013, said Ncube’s budget statement failed to address the structural problems affecting the country.

He challenged Ncube to be courageous and declare that the bond note was not at par with the United States dollar and also to demonetise the surrogate currency.

“Firstly, the Finance minister suggested that duty for imported vehicles and other selected commodities must be paid in United States dollars, which is legal tender, but the bond note is also legal tender, and it is unfortunate for the budget to suggest that for certain commodities, duty should be in US dollars. It is illegal,” Biti said.

“Another illegality is that the budget statement says by-elections should be held after every one year or two years, but the Electoral Act is clear that by elections must be within 90 days of a vacancy.”

On traffic fines, Biti said it was illegal for the Executive to interfere with the Judiciary in terms of sentencing of traffic offenders.

Previously, the fines were a maximum $100, but Ncube imposed deterrent penalties of up to $700.

“For the Finance minister to also say that traffic fines must be enforced by the military is also unconstitutional and illegal because the law and order maintenance function is vested on the Zimbabwe Republic Police,” he said.

“He also suggested that many people were using their houses as business premises and that the Department of Customs and Excise and Zimra [Zimbabwe Revenue Authority] must be empowered to carry out searches. The Constitution is clear that there should be privacy of persons and, therefore, Zimra has no power to do the searches.”

Biti also said giving the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) power to retain foreign currency from exporters such as Zimplats was unlawful.

The former Finance minister said the RBZ could not take people’s money and then allocate it.

He said allocation of funds were the duties of Parliament and it was illegal for the RBZ to do so.

On the budget deficit projected at $1,56 billion, Biti said it was grossly understated, given that there were plans by government to increase civil servants’ salaries by 10%. He said the only solution was to pay salaries in US dollar and re-dollarise the economy.

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25 COMMENTS

  1. Very sorry Biti you are totally lost on the budget infact you had your time and failed to breath life into the economy by failing to revive industries and so forth and in any case who told you that the bond is still of relevance in reviving the economy my advise for now is that focus in the law field and let economists do their work and wait for results after a year and then comment as a casual observer just like anyone else.

    • kkkkkkk you might defend your side but BITI said the fact,not your points.if you revisit his term as a minister how our economy moves even inflation drops.

    • eeeeh…Are you sick..i thought you wanted to come up with a counter argument on the Budget statement.Just take a nap instead this hogwash.Biti is providing an insight of the fake economic policies announced by this Mthuli.

  2. I would rather listen to Biti, who is an elected MP, than the mad one-track hallucinatory twaddle of a paid neurotic newt named eliasha, whose IQ is probably less than 1.

  3. Mthuli haasati hake anyanya kurasika and Biti knows it but semunhu ari kumaterraces eeh pakutaura bhora rinotambwa chose nyangwe renhema

  4. 1. The budget will only be operational when it is enacted into law, so Biti is being dishonesty when he says this and that are illegal. The budget statement represent proposed legislative changes.

    2. Fines have always been set by the executive through SIs, so Biti again is being disingenuous in his comments about traffic fines.

    3. A fixed exchange rate is not something new or peculiar to Zimbabwe. Just like any exchange rate regime in a country facing chronic current account deficits, the fixed exchange rate regime will have its advantages and disadvantages. One advantage which the likes of Biti would not talk about is that it acts as a buffer against exchange rate induced inflation. We all saw that when the authorities moved away from 100% fixed exchange rate, through separation of Nostro FCAs and RTGS/Bond Accounts. Dwelling on known downsides of fixed exchange rate regime is misleading to the unsuspecting public.

    4. Scrapping the Bond note will not see USD flowing into the economy. The country has to generate the USD through exports, and it must minimize movement of the generated forex outside the country via imports. Way before the introduction of bond notes there were forex shortages in the country, with people sleeping on queues in a bid to get money. The Gresham law therefore is irrelevant to the Zimbabwean situation. If he wanted to be constructive he should have spoken about how the country can boost exports while minimizing imports.

    5. Lest we forget, Biti as Finance Minister did nothing to address the growing current account deficit. Right now Mthuli is trying to solve problems whose genesis are in the Biti and Chinamasa periods.

    • Cde Makwinja you are completely lost. Biti is adding his voice so that the budget does not sail through parliament as it is full of illegalities. Traffic fines as Biti says are to be enforced by police not soldiers as per the Police Act and the Constitution. The fixed exchange rate is done by people who know nothing about economic principles of demand and supply, Cde Makwinja. The pseudo currency called the bond is the one that has compounded the driving out of good money. Again this is basic economics, Makwinja. The vicious inflation that has re-visited Zim IS PARTLY due to the bond papers masquerading as money. What addresses the current account deficit is the whole business set up that promotes industrialization and increased exports. In short, its due to an enabling environment. An enabling environment is due to a multiplicity of factors beyond the ambit of the finance minister. Factors like institutional reforms, the regulatory framework etc come into play.
      Biti did his best in the GNU given that ZANU PF was still calling the shorts.

    • You are very STUPID. You seem to be talking through your backside. Petrol went up because of the budget. I just paid for my BMW in forex. Uri dofo remunhu.

  5. Mthuli Ncube is a greenhorn who doesn’t things operate in government. He needs a lot of hand holding otherwise it’s gonna be a disaster with that chap Mthuli.

  6. Gentlemen i am surprised by people who are saying Biti is wrong on his comments. I totally agree with Biti here though I am not a member of his party but he is a person who had told the truth. Don’t always be political when commending things for national consumption.

    • That is the sadness of a polarized society. As much as i don’t like the fella, every bit of his statement is not only sensible but factual as well. Lets learn to respect and embrace constructive criticism and stop worshiping politics.

  7. Any mdc leader’s contribution to the economy debate will only make sense after they have openly condemned sanctions on Zimbabwe. We cannot have people like Biti and Chamisa and Ngarivume go to America to persuade the authorities of that country to mantain economic restrictions on Zimbabwe and then those same people come and try to convince us that they want to share with the nation ideas that can help grow our economy. It simply just does not make any sense whatsoever.

    • What about those who went to china to sell zimbabwe, its people and its minerals?consider that also when you think of vomiting @nhire

  8. This Is where we have a very big problem with this so called opposition political party. They argue just for the sake of arguing whithout any proof of what they say and they are very rude and they expect their elders to take them seriously. Zimbabwe is under economic restrictions and the economy cannot do well under those conditions and that is a fact no mater how good your own proposals regarding the budget. If Ed cannot rig the economy because of the sanctions neither can you. Lets denounce sanctions on Zhmbabwe and your desired contributions to the budget will atomaticaly start to make sense. As far as the idea that China bought our country, I yet need to get more details from you regarding that transaction. Zimbabwean, Please reason, we cannot wish ourselves evil all the time and expect good to come out of it. That would be very unreasonable and foolish.

  9. It’s sour grapes MBITI wanted the job too. By the way which company was opened during the GNU era. Having money in the banks is not a sign of a good economy you twats

  10. Biti knows exactly what he’s talking about, he was the one who rescued the economy in 2009. Unfortunately then there was another ‘election’ and under the charge of the ruling party here we are back at square 1!

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