By Shingirai Vambe.
Harare-Key stakeholders have said that they do not expect much change in policy direction from Finance minister ‘sMthuli Ncube mid-term budget review before Parliament which is scheduled forThursday afternoon at 1400hrs.
This follows a sharp increase in prices of goods and services in the first quarter of the year 2021.
Civic society organizations, analysts and politicians across the political divide told Post On Sunday that, they are expecting nothing new from the finance minister, as no substantial improvements have been evidenced in the welfare and livelihood of Zimbabweans citizens.
Dzivarasekwa Legislator as well as member of the Public Accounts Committee in Parliament, Edwin Mushoriwa told this publication that the minister should pronounce a fiscal policy that can make life easier for the ordinary citizens.
“Top of the list is to narrow the auction foreign exchange rate and the people’s market foreign exchange rate commonly referred to as parallel rate.”
There is need to have financial inclusion for the common man, banks should pay interests on deposits and people should be able to access credit from banks at affordable rates” added Mushoriwa.
The 2020 review was married by controversy as members from the opposition walked out of parliament during finance minister’s budget presentation and claim he was not addressing issues affecting common people on the ground.
It appears the MDC is still singing the same tune as chairperson Tabitha Khumalo indicated that there are low expectations for reforms or policy restrategizing.
Contacted for comment, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC Alliance) Chairperson, Thabita Khumalo said Zimbabweans must not expect anything but doom and gloom.
“The minister has nothing new for the people but good news for their handlers”
Economic analyst, Vince Museve, added his voice to that effect, and said because of the pandemic, Zimbabwe has been exposed.
“Despite claims on other news platforms that we are good on social protection, a lot of Zimbabweans are now exposed because of lack of income, disposable income should be quizzed.
We cannot survive only on remittances from the abroad” said Museve.
“There is a lot of uncertainty on the political front while people are already gearing for elections in 2023, thus there is no significant change of foreign direct investment coming through, and people will have to rely on the informal sector for a while” he continued.
He however implored government on the management of foreign exchange rates through the current auction system.
“The only thing we should work on as a country is production, production, production, despite the increase in Agriculture it’s not going to be that sustainable to kick back the economy into gear as well as reduce the import bill”
“We need new investment, to bump up our industrialization strategy so that we can begin to industrialize and cut down on imports, but as long as disposable income are squeezed aggregate demand is not going to increase”
“Our gold output is down and there is no progress of privatization so there is nothing new, only thing that mess the country up is covid-19 and the rest of the year has already been impacted” Said Musewe.
In a nearly hour long interview with Post On Sunday, Vice president of the of the MDC Alliance, Tendai Biti said there are 9 commanding heights of corruption in Zimbabwe that have made this country to be where it is right now.
Biti among other sources stated that the Auditor General’s (AG) report was enough for this country to look back and go back to the drawing board because not even one recommendation by the A.G has been implemented and budgets are prepared and presented without explanations and continuous misappropriation of public funds go unchecked.
In his report Biti said minerals of high value worth millions of dollars are being smuggled out of the country every week, yet an ordinary citizen is surviving with less than USD $2 a day while handlers supporting and protected by the ruling party are looting every day.
On top of his list was Kuda Tagwirei, Owner of Sakunda Holdings, who wasrecently put on sanctions by Britain, Billy Rautenbach, and Nicholas van Hoogstraten to mention just a few.
ZACC spokesperson, John Makamure is also on record as having told the media that Zimbabwe has lost +/- 7billion through money laundering and corruption and the money has been stashed in off-shore accounts and properties out side the country
Post On Sunday failed to reach the Minister of finance to respond on to what citizens should expect this coming Thursday but in his previous presentation, on November 26 2020, minister of finance said “after going round the country, meeting with all groups of people, I came up with the following observations. “Out there confidence is improving and the budget is committed to cement that hope by addressing various expectations.
These expectations evolve around provisions of basic services such as water, housing, food, health, education of children among other issues.
College under and post graduates look forward to job security, in fact, people of all backgrounds want to be assured that through the budget, we are doing all we can to make sure that promises become a reality” said Finance minister Mthuli Ncube.
Meanwhile some traders already rejecting $2, $5 and $10 dollar bond notes upon the introduction of the new RTGS $50 dollar note and prices of goods continue to go up in US dollars.