Fiscal Transparency: Key to Economic Development

Own Correspondent

Zimbabwe is currently in the process of trying to rebuild its economy after more than a decade of economic meltdown. The economic rebuilding exercise is being guided by the Transitional Stabilization program (TSP).

The development blueprint outlines policies, strategies and projects that guide Zimbabwe’s social and economic development
interventions up to December 2020.

TSP prioritises fiscal consolidation, economic stabilisation, and implementation of prudent fiscal and complementary monetary policies so as to stabilise the macro- economic environment. However, it is important to note that the success of this program (TSP) is centred on many factors and most importantly fiscal transparency.

Fiscal transparency (FT) refers to the publication on how government raise,spend and manage public resources.

Fiscal transparency is pivotal because it ensures that government has an accurate picture of its fiscal position and prospects, the long-term costs
and benefits of TSP, and the potential fiscal risks that it may face. In this regard the government seems to have provided minimal information on how it is going to raise, spend and manage resources that are going to support the TSP.

Over the years many government projects have failed to bear fruit because of lack of (FT) in the management of public resources. For instance, the Auditor general’s report referred to the 3billion dollars that was lost during the implementation of the command agriculture.

This is a reflection and a manifestation of lack of fiscal transparency in the management of public funds.Lack of Fiscal transparency impacts negatively on government programs such as the TSP and results in lack of trust between citizens and government, corruption and limited citizen
participation in governance issues.

The government of Zimbabwe continues to rank very poorly on various transparency measurement indices, for instance, in 2017 The International
Budget Partnership Open Budget Survey ranked Zimbabwe 23 out of 100 countries in terms of budget transparency.

The ranking means that the government of Zimbabwe provides the public with minimal budget information (both at local and central government
level), and that the government is weak in providing the public with opportunities to engage in the budget process.

Transparency international Zimbabwe has been working with communities ,raising awareness on issues of fiscal transparency .

It emerged that there is limited public participation in governance process that ensures fiscal transparency at both local and central government level.

The publication of how government spend and manage resources fosters greater government accountability and helping citizens hold their
leadership accountable.

Transparency International Zimbabwe (TI Z) views lack of fiscal transparency as a breeding ground for corruption ,revenue leakages and wasteful spending as reflected in the 2019 Auditor General’s report. Against this background , TI Z recommends that the government must:

o Provide a complete picture of revenues and expenditures, including revenues from natural resources that are going to support the TSP.

o Strongly monitor all the phases of the TSP program to avoid revenue lose

o Have key budget documents that are publicly available, substantially complete, and
generally reliable.

o Invest more on the provision of information to the public and encourage citizen participation by creating platforms of engagement between government and citizens.

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