By Alois Vinga
FINANCE Minister, Mthuli Ncube Thursday unveiled a total ZW$4,5 trillion 2023 budget, which will see salaries and operational costs eroding a huge chunk of the money.
Very little resources were set aside for capital projects.
Delivered under the theme, “Accelerating Economic Transformation” which the learned Treasury boss said was coined by one Rodrik as a critical ingredient in generating economic growth that promotes social development and was sustainable, the budget played a balancing act on pressing national needs and available resources.
Contrary to expectations of the public that the blueprint would prioritise welfare institutions, related ministries like Health and Child Care
received a total ZW$473,7 billion out of which salary expenditures will gobble ZW$336,3 billion with only ZW$39,2 billion being set aside for capital expenditure.
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The Primary and Secondary Education Ministry was allocated ZW$631,2 billion out of which ZW$550,7 billion will be spent on salaries, ZW$65,2 billion on operations with only ZW$15,2 billion for capital expenditure.
The Women Affairs Ministry was allocated ZW$18,5 billion with salaries chewing up ZW$5,9 billion and just ZW$3,9 billion for capital expenditure.
The Youth, Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture Ministry got a budget injection of ZW$25,1 billion with capital projects receiving just ZW$8,3 billion.
The budget was largely tilted in favour of the Lands and Agriculture Ministry receiving a whooping ZW$362, 5 billion with the highest vote of ZW$161,2 billion being earmarked for capital projects.
The day also saw security related ministries receiving lucrative allocations after the Office of the President and Cabinet received a
whooping ZW$161 billion out of which just 64,8 billion going towards salary expenditures with a total ZW$31,8 billion going towards capital expenditure and only coming second to the Health Ministry.
The Defence Ministry received a total ZW$331,6 billion with ZW$23,3 billion being set aside for capital expenditures.
The Home Affairs Ministry received ZW$293 billion with ZW$20,2 billion going towards capital projects.
“Due to the base effect, global and domestic developments, particularly the impact of high inflation and resultant stabilisation measures on credit and demand, the economy is now projected to grow by 4% in 2022, a further downward revision from the mid-year projection of 4,6% .
“In the outlook, the economy is now projected to grow by 3,8% in 2023, compared to the NDS1 target of not less than 5%,” said Ncube.
The 2023 projected growth will be sustained mainly by mining; construction and agriculture, as well as accommodation sectors underpinned by internal and external factors.
In 2023, national annual average inflation is projected to continue slowing down to double digit levels, underpinned by continued tight monetary and fiscal policy stance with a month-on-month inflation target range of between 1% to 3%.
To year end, the current account is projected to remain in surplus of US$448, 9 million, which compares favourably with US$348, 2 million
registered in 2021.
“With ‘a little more persistence, a little more effort and what seemed hopeless failure will turn to glorious success’ (Elbert Hubbard). As we
implement this 2023 National Budget, we seek everyone’s support so that together we can accelerate economic transformation already underway,” added Ncube.