2016 national budget: Another tough year for Zimbabwe

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Below is a statement from the PDP party on last Thursday’s budget presentation:
THE 2016 national budget presented by the finance minister, Patrick Chinamasa (last) Thursday is once again reflective of the cluelessness, inability and incompetence on the part of the Zanu PF government in running this economy.
Instead of presenting a pro-poor budget to cushion Zimbabweans from the current harsh economic environment, the 2016 budget presented by Chinamasa makes sad reading as it will leave more Zimbabweans in worse economic, political and social situations than they were in 2015.
From Tuesday, 01 December 2015, at least 1 200 workers at the giant steel-maker, Ziscosteel, will be laid off on a three months’ notice after the dramatic collapse of the Essar deal.
The Ziscosteel workers, most of whom have worked for the company for over 20 years, will be sent packing empty-handed as Chinamasa has not said anything about the over $100 million they are owed by their employer.
Thousands of these workers will also soon be homeless as the Redcliff municipality has already started the process of evicting them from their homes due to non-payment of rentals.
In the absence of favourable conditions to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) agreements, deindustrialization in the country in 2016 is set to worsen while retrenchments will increase due to more company closures.
In his $4 billion budget, Chinamasa has once again turned himself into a wages clerk as the government salary bill for 2016 will be $3, 919 billion, leaving him with very little to disburse for social services and infrastructural development as revenue collection is also set to drastically shrink.
As the PDP, we also note with concern that the government continues to employ ghost workers especially in the ministry of youth development as the civil service employment figures reveal that 276,000 civil servants were employed in 2014, which is a jump of 36 percent from 203,000 in 2009.
As the country is already feeling the effects of the El Nino weather conditions, it is also shocking that Chinamasa ignores to put in place mechanisms to mitigate the effects of the drought and the poor harvests that are to be expected next year.
It is highly regrettable that Zimbabweans should expect a tougher 2016, as the budget is characterized by severe job cuts, cash crunch and drought due to El Nino.  The budget does not offer an economic stimulus to ensure recovery and sustainable growth.Advertisement

The budget is unrealistic and revenue targets expected by Chinamasa in 2016 will not be achieved thereby widening the budget deficit.
The 2016 national budget presented on Thursday by Chinamasa is another confirmation that the Zanu PF government cannot solve the problems that it created in this country.
Zimbabwe in its current state indicates the twilight stage of the Zanu PF regime and therefore an opportunity is needed to create new window to galvanise Zimbabweans towards the vision and agenda for transformation.
As the PDP, we reiterate our position that in order to do away from the deep structural crisis created by Zanu PF, which is characterized by zero output, there is need for the following;

–          Massive retrenchment of recurrent expenditure particularly wastage expenditure on travelling, vehicles, excessive diplomatic missions, parastatals and patronage.

–          The immediate removal of the over 20,000 ghost workers on the civil service payroll in order to reduce the government payroll to 30 percent of expenditure and 8 percent of the GDP.

–          The complete repeal of the Indigenisation and Empowerment Act.

–          A return to a balanced budget.

–          Urgent attention to competitiveness and the easy of doing business in the country.

–          Removal of the corrosive and protectionist taxes and duties.

–          The provision of title to landowners to enable land to be used as collateral as a means of financing agriculture.

–          The injection of capital in the distressed and marginal industries as a major priority.

–          Increasing transparency on mining revenue particularly on diamonds and platinum.

–          Investment in social services particularly welfare, health and education.

–          Investment in Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) and Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) projects particularly in the energy sector.

–          Revisiting the informal sector and investing in small medium enterprises (SMEs), vending communities and making them bankable and formalised.
Settlement Chikwinya
PDP Spokesperson for Economic Affairs