By Own Correspondent
LABOUR federation the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has lashed out at Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube for proposing a national budget its president Peter Mutasa described as “anti-workers.”
Mutasa made the remarks while contributing to debate during the post 2020 budget breakfast meeting last week.
“With respect on behalf of labour there is nothing much for workers and poor citizens, we take the mantra associated with this document as rhetoric since we have heard it before. It can only be pro-poor when we taste it on our tables,” said Mutasa.
Mutasa said Ncube had ignored the reality of workers and the common man in Zimbabwe.
“Currently we can’t buy bread, clothes and rentals but these were the major issues that we thought will be addressed. We have seen a lot of complicated statistics in the budget.
“We were expecting to see figures on the numbers of people who have dropped out of school because of austerity and the previous budget but we did not get those,” he said.
He described the national budget as “elitist and bookish leaving out what the ordinary folk down in Nyanga and Mahenye will think about it.”
“We were therefore expecting a paradigm shift, but worryingly the budget is premised on illusionary stability and purported successes of the Transitional Stabilisation Program similar to “kuzvifonera”(beating your own drum) .
“There is no stability minister, I know you are a professor and if I write an exam and say this economy is stable, you will definitely fail me,” said the tough talking Mutasa.
Mutasa added that it has become difficult to sit at a table to talk to government.
“If they (government officials) do not want to dialogue with us they send some guys with teargas and canisters so this is a development that is well appreciated where we are in a better place. I therefore hope there will be freedom after this speech,” he said.
The ZCTU chief said workers were expecting the issue of currency to be resolved and reminded the Ncube that ordinary employees including those in government who were earning US$400 before the adoption of the mono-currency regime are now getting an equivalent of US$40 while pensioners are getting US$5.
“Without national cohesion and ownership, this budget is only going to be guaranteed through the use of baton sticks, teargas and canisters,” he added.