by DANAI MWARUMBA & MARCUS MUSHONGA
HARARE, (CAJ News) – ZIMBABWE’S Finance Minister, Patrick Chinamasa on Thursday presented a whopping $5.1 billion (about R76 billion) budget for 2018, which seeks to make a huge economic turnaround for the country’s comatose economy.
The budget presentation, which was attended by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, cabinet minister, diplomatic corps and captains of industry was widely received.
If all government departments present would pull together as forecast, there is no doubt the new regime would make swift impressions on economic turnaround for Zimbabwe, a country that suffered massive economic bleed through corruption, gross violation of the rule of law, cronyism, nepotism and politics of patronage by former president Robert Mugabe and his G-40 cabal regime.
The budget presentation, which rekindled hope for Zimbabwe saw a raft of business and investor friendly proposals directed at tackling corruption and waste of resources.
Among other promising strategies to be addressed soonest includes addressing youths unemployment, dualisation of Africa’s business highway (Beitbridge-to-Chirundu), cutting unwarranted civil servants’ ballooning and unattainable expenditure, tracking of externalised fund, loosening of indigenisation policy that initially compelled locals to have 51% shares in foreign owned companies.
Other economic measures put in place include the reduction of Zimbabwe’s diplomatic missions as well as cutting allowances of senior government officials.
During his budget presentation, Chinamasa said the cleansing process targeting unlawful and illegitimate transactions, which includes money laundering, externalisation of foreign currency and underground foreign exchange deals would be severely dealt with.
“As directed by His Excellency (Emmerson Mnangagwa), the President, Government will also be enforcing restrictions on the class of travel on the basis of grade, as communicated through periodic Treasury Circulars to Heads of Ministries.
“In this regard, business class travel will, with immediate effect, be restricted to the following categories: Ministers; Heads of Ministries and equivalent grades; parastatals chief executive officers; local authorities mayors, town clerks, chief executive officers; and constitutional commissioners,” Chinamasa said.
The budget presentation was in line with what Mangagwa earlier hinted upon assuming duties as Head of State when he said: “Government will attract both domestic and international investment by implementing investor-friendly policies.”
On the dualisation of the long overdue Beitbridge-Harare highway, the government channeled $1,7 billion (R25.5 billion) to the project, which will see Austrian construction company Geiger International do the work.
Agriculture, as the country’s economic backbone has also received a huge budget. This according to Minister Chinamasa, would see the Command Agriculture being intensified in the following year of 2018.
Of course, the defence, which ousted former President Mugabe also received huge budget.
– CAJ News