By Anna Chibamu
FINANCE minister Mthuli Ncube has promised a pro-poor 2022 national budget.
He however said ministries submitted bids so high they are beyond government’s capacity to satisfy.
Ncube said this in response to calls by ministries and parliamentarians at the just ended Victoria Falls annual pre-budget seminar.
He said government’s capacity to finance expenditures will continue to be dependent on the revenue generation capacity of the economy and its ability to borrow sustainably.
“The overall 2022 Budget Envelope is ZWL$900 billion, however, my last count of the bids submitted by line ministries indicates resource requirements in the excess of ZWL$3 trillion. Surely, this is beyond our capacity, and more fundamentally, poses challenges from a prioritisation point of view,” Ncube said.
“Whilst I acknowledge and appreciate the current challenges, critical is that we become more efficient and effective in the use of available resources in line with our value for money and Programme Based Budgeting principles,” he said.
“That being said however the 2022 budget will endeavour to ensure that all key priority areas as presented in the vote bids are resourced to the greatest extent possible so that we respond to the needs of our people. I note the recommendation for a pro-poor budget and as already discussed most of our priority interventions, will go towards addressing the needs of the poor which resonates with the major thrust of NDS1 of ‘leaving no-one and no place behind.”
He told delegates that government was aware of the need to improve the welfare of civil servants in response to the inflationary environment.
“Let me take this opportunity to inform the House that stable macroeconomic environment will enable us to gradually increase the welfare of civil servants through salary adjustments. Therefore, the first move towards addressing this is to ensure macroeconomic stability which we are committed to. This will be accompanied be review of salaries of public servants and other non-monetary incentives,” he said.
Ncube also committed to revising upwards the tax-free threshold from ZWL$10 000 to ZWL 40 000 and accordingly adjust the tax bands.
“Government has, over the years, continuously reviewed the tax-free threshold and tax bands in line with the prevailing macro-economic conditions. I am pleased to advise that Treasury will take advantage of the Finance Bill to be presented to Parliament alongside the 2022 National Budget to review the tax-free portion of employment income and the tax bands thereof.”
Ncube is expected to announce the 2022 national budget next month.