FORMER Finance minister Tendai Biti (Harare East MP) yesterday demanded that Finance minister Mthuli Ncube appear before Parliament to explain fiscal policy inconsistencies and apologise for “lying that he was de-dollarising.”
BY VENERANDA LANGA
Biti’s matter of privilege, which was raised in the National Assembly, came as Norton MP Temba Mliswa piled more pressure on government and Ncube saying that MPs’ US$50 equivalent salaries were meagre and should be increased, while their fuel coupons should be in United States dollars.
On Wednesday, Ncube increased civil servants’ salaries by 50% and awarded US$75 and US$30 allowances for the government workers and pensioners, respectively, which would be paid as COVID-19 allowance for the next three months.
But Biti said Ncube and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya misled the nation when they claimed the country was introducing its own currency at par with the US$.
He said people were shocked on October 1, 2018 when banks were instructed to separate nostro FCA accounts and RTGS accounts.
Biti said this was followed by more policy inconsistencies through statutory instruments where the country was told that the multi-currency regime was no longer legal and that the Zimdollar was the sole currency of trade.
“We made a point to Ncube that the conditions did not yet exist for introduction of our own currency. We were further confused yesterday (Wednesday) when the Minister of Finance effectively de-dollarised by the introduction of US$75 allowance to civil servants and US$30 to war veterans.
“It is our contention that Ncube owes Zimbabwe an apology and that he should repeal SI 33 and SI 42 and the Finance Act because he is introducing the Zimbabwe dollar through the back door. The Minister of Finance has been involved in massive lying,” Biti said.
Mliswa then complained about MPs welfare saying while they got a measly US$50 equivalent salary per month, their counterparts in Kenya were getting between US$10 000 and US$15 000 per month.
“We are not immune to the difficulties and the prices in this country. Soon you will read stories that MPs are pick-pocketing and stealing at supermarkets and then you blame us. We want our coupons in US$ and we can no longer be compromised,” he said.
Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi’s response was that Parliament administration should approach Treasury about MPs’ vehicles and fuel.
This angered Mliswa who then took a dig on government, saying that Zimbabwe was in the doldrums because the Executive was busy stealing.
“Parliament does not generate income. Ministers are busy stealing because they are the ones that generate money which is not going to the fiscus. It is this plundering that is making people of this country to suffer. We (MPs) are not here to do chicken runs. We came to represent people, but because government is stealing, nothing is coming to us,” Mliswa said.
Acting Speaker of the National Assembly William Mutomba did not respond to the issues.