40% of govt expenditure wasted on allowances for ministers and top bureaucrats

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By Staff Reporter

NEARLY 40 percent of the government’s recurrent expenditure is wasted on allowances for top administration executives with Parliament failing to exercise its oversight role and help control the outrage, it has emerged.

Successive finance ministers have lamented the fact that more than 90 percent of the national budget is spend of wages for State employers who are estimated at more than 500,000 highlighting the need to cut down the salaries bill.

However, 40 percent of that civil service expenditure apparently goes allowances for top administration executives, according to leading economist and government advisor Ashok Chakravati.

Speaking at a recent 2019 budget briefing, Prof Chakravati said finance minister Mthuli Ncube’s decision to target allowances for legislators in a bid to cut down government expenditure was misplaced.

“The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says that the country’s top executives are draining 40 percent of the wages and salary budgets to finance allowances. So, reviewing downwards the parliamentarians’ allowances is a misplaced move,” he said.

The veteran economist also challenged MPs to exercise their oversight role on government expenditure by making sure that laws of the land are respected.

He said that the country’s laws stipulate that sovereign debt must not exceed 20 percent of the economy’s total worth.

“This limit was exceeded in 2017 and will be exceeded again this year and this is parliament’s responsibility to make sure that government respects these laws. If we continue to spend like (that) our country will be ruined.”

Economist Naome Chakanya, who agreed with Chakravati observations, underscored the need for parliament to ensure that illicit financial flaws are plugged.

“In the 2015 national budget statement, government revealed that $1.2 billion was externalized,” she said.

“… and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) also confirmed that (the country) is losing $150 million per month through illicit flows and the key question is how has parliament dealt with such issues?”