BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
THE Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (Zimcodd) has bemoaned the lack of coherence between the Ministry of Finance and the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) after the two reported different overall revenue figures for the first half of the year.
According to Zimcodd, Zimra reported that it collected $5,27 billion over the past six months while the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development reported overall revenue of $4,99 billion in the mid-term budget, giving a variance of $390 million.
“The understating of tax revenue by the ministry has an implication on public trust of the government. That lack of coherence between the ministry and the
revenue authority creates room for abuse and misappropriation of funds,” the body said.
Similarly, Zimcodd said government did not adjust government expenditures in line with the exchange rate in which case the government expenditure for the
period January to June 2019 was $4,2 billion against a target of $3,7 billion, thereby overspending by 15% in nominal terms.
“In real terms, government underspent having expended an equivalent of US$840 million instead of US$3,7 billion,” Zimcodd said.
Overally, government registered a budget surplus of $803,6 million.
While the government, through the surplus, satisfies the demands of the IMF Staff-Monitored Programme, Zimcodd said it did not translate to the realisation of social and economic rights of citizens.
Zimcodd said it was unfortunate for Finance minister to conceal year-on-year inflation figures till February 2020, saying that takes away the right of citizens
to information guaranteed by section 62 of the Constitution.
In his mid-term budget review statement two weeks ago, Ncube suspended the publication of year-on-year inflation figures, saying the move was meant to allow
the country’s statistics body to collect comparable data after the introduction of the Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) currency early this year.
“Inflation remains a critical indicator that requires continuous monitoring by citizens, business and the government of Zimbabwe. Without access to government
sources, rational beings will rely on alternative sources of information, which in most cases will worsen people’s reaction,” Zimcodd said.
“Moreover, lack of reliable information has a danger of causing social unrest as citizens are left to speculate on key development indicators.”
Ncube has, however, stuck to his guns, saying the move will not negatively impact the economy as suggested by some economists.