Ncube budget fails to excite Zimbabweans, cornered govt expected to pamper security

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By Alois Vinga

ZIMBABWE business leaders, trade unionists and informal traders say they were not expecting any substantive solutions to come out of Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube’s 2020 budget presentation Thursday.

They were speaking in separate interviews with Monday.

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions secretary general, Japhet Moyo said nothing meaningful is going to emerge from Ncube’s budget.

He said he foresaw President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s cornered administration channelling resources towards the security sector.

“As usual, nothing is expected from the budget announcement,” he said, adding, “Firstly, the process of budgeting was exclusively for the politically correct, and leaving out key stakeholders in the consultation exercise.

“As usual, I foresee the priorities being the security sectors and few resources being channelled towards social services and infrastructure.

“Most ministries will overspend as usual and fail to account for their expenditures.

“Lastly, the volatile currency makes it a mockery to put figures in a budget unless if the budget is in US$.”

The trade union leader insisted, given a national poverty datum line of $ 7 600, all workers earning below the amount must not be taxed.

Top industrialist, Sifelani Jabangwe said if the budget did not address economic fundamentals which have been ignored for a long time, obtaining economic challenges may not disappear anytime soon.

“The challenge of increased money supply has affected the economy for a long time and this just needs urgent redress to achieve the required stability.

“Government needs to set the record straight by using other non-inflationary methods which do not affect economic stability,” he said.

Jabangwe added the need for making sure the intermarket bank is fully operationalised for it to set workable and realistic exchange rates which attract buyers and sellers to trade their foreign currency.

An informal trader who operates at Mupedzanhamo flea market in Harare, Lewis Kuimbira said the budget statement must address the confusion around the currency issue in the country.

“What we are seeing is that the markets have already rejected the Zim dollar and when everything is sold, you will realise that the prices are rated against the US$.

“Most Zimbabweans are paying for rentals in US dollars or their equivalent yet we are told the country is now in a mono-currency mode.

“This situation demands the finance minister to use this opportunity to take a bold decision to do away with the currency and revert to US dollars or adopt the rand,” he said.

Economist Persistence Gwanyanya said the 2020 budget must address key issues of production and productivity while putting in place measures to stimulate the economy.

“We need to see doctors and other civil servants’ grievances being resolved amicably. Livelihoods of the people and challenges being faced must be a thing of the past.

“Moving forward, growth must be focused on the youth and women,” he said.