Today’s live blog is brought to you by Ms T. L. Manyemba and Mr A. Nyamuramba.
Until then good bye from us.
Economics is a difficult subject for MPs, but they should find the such much easier to deal with the able assistance of both the Budget Office, Research Department and our facilitators.
Our tax regime should discourage corporates from declaring loses every year. This can only be achieved through the lowering of the corporate tax.
Felt encouraged by Mr Chivore’s remarks that Parliament should have its own buses and buildings instead of sourcing out for these services, but he was however disappointed by his lack of mentioning the heed to recruit sufficient staff to mann the Budget Office, which is key in the analysis of the work of Parliament.
Honourable members please fight for the Charter of Fiscal Responsibilities as the case in Uganda. This helps in the maintenance of prudent management of the public purse. This helps the players to stick to the utilisation of disbursed funds.
He urged MPs to prod the Executive to create industrialisation through the production of oil at Lusulu in Binga as well as the creation of power generation at Batoka Gorge.
We should not be importing wheat and soya beans since we have vast tracks of land that can be put to good use to ensure that we desist from the habit of importing these two food substances.
There has been talk of production and more production without tangible results. The concoction which the economists must identify includes perfecting the Ease of Doing Business as well as making Zimbabwe an attractive investment destination.
Lamenting the failure to evaluate the ESAP and ZIMASSET programmes before embarking on TSP, therefore he urged Parliament to demand the Results of ZIMASSET.
In line with Section 298 to 317 of the Constitution as read with the Audit Act and Public Finance Management Act, Members will need to look at the key result result areas as well as the service delivery as intended by the Budget.
TSP will not be fully implemented if the wrong vote is allocated to a Ministry.
– He urged the Members to study the presentations made by the four facilitators which could prove to be useful even in the individual member’s committees.
Closing Remarks by the Speaker of the National Assembly
The issue of lifestyle audits is a good move, since our neighbor South Africa has a similar mechanism in place. I am a proponent of the principle that he who earns more should pay taxes.
Hon Malinga in advancing the cause of the disabled people indicated that they require the opening up of facilities that are taken for granted by society such as going to work and jumping into a train and exemption of the disabled from paying for the wheel chair is not the only thing that can be done to this special group of citizens. Disability is not in my legs, eyes or arms, it is how I am treated as a human being. The disabled need respect and dignity for their rights.
The revision of the whistle blower facility although it is a good move, the 10 percent offered is too high.
– Exemption of non residents from filing tax returns with ZIMRA is a good move, so is the imposition of a 5% levy on all third party insurance covers.
– Payment of taxes for the people who trade in foreign currency should be in foreign currency as well.
– Members of Parliament are urged to assist the Minister in monitoring if the rebates are of benefit or Government is loosing money unnecessarily.
Mrs A. Mutombodi Tax Consultant from Impact Tax and Accounting Services presented on the taxes that were effected in the Budget.
Join us after the lunch break at 1445 hrs.
Parliament has three fundamental powers these rests on the three As namely Ability, Authority and Attitude. Parliament has the power in terms of the Constitution in that regard, Parliament should ensure that it invests in efficiency through capacity building in monitoring and evaluation.
The fiscal statement should be incorporated by manufacturing, agriculture and industrial policy.
Dr Mugano remarked that in his considered view, the manufacturing sector has been taken into consideration through the imposition of duties on competing products as well as the various tax rebates being given to the same sector.
Th Budget Consultation in South Africa involves consultation with all think tanks but the same cannot be said about our own Zimbabwean situation for example the TSP which came out two weeks ago was a bolt from the blue. Going forward, it is envisaged that this type of consultation will exist.
Government should take Tax incentives initiatives to companies that are increasing production and supporting grower associations as is the case in Zambia and Malawi.
The long and short of it is that this Budget has been very reasonable as it sought to address the fiscal imbalances. On the other hand the flouting of the currency will kill the economy, the full implementation of the Money Laundering Bill is the game changer for the government.
The budget was consistent and inconsistent at the same time. The TSP made a number of policy measures which were hanging which are now being operationalised by the budget statement. The Rand is not the best way to go because it has be earned.
Dr Mugano recommends that the foreign currency that is going to be collected by ZIMRA should be ring fenced.
The reforms on parastatals are spot on. The waiver on duty for capital goods for manufacturers helps to stimulate growth in the sector.
Parliament needs to be on the look out for unauthorised government expenditure and Public Finance Management System will ensure that offenders are brought to book.
The bio-metric register for civil servants is a welcome development, it is a game changer as it saves and flushes out ghost workers.
The challenge is not the currency, but it is the fiscal and trade imbalances that are a problem. In order to alleviate the trade imbalances, Zimbabwe needs to up its production levels.
Dr G. Mugano – Zimbabwe Ezekiel Guti University Registrar presenting on Internal consistency, realism and reasonableness of expenditure proposals and forecasts.
Some of the outstanding issues can be resolved in the Minister’s mid-term fiscal policy or in the 2020 Budget.
– The issue purchasing prison vehicles for the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) is commendable, because this sector requires custom made vehicles for the transportation of inmates.
The intention by govt to revive students loans and the setting aside of $2.6 billion for infrastructure rehabilitation and development, is commended. The issue of opening of the airwaves still remains outstanding.
On paragraphs 438 – 439 of the Budget Statement, the Minister talks about e-communication, this has been on the budget for a long time with very little tangible evidence to show government’s willingness to embark on this project. Such that to date a lot of government departments still use gmail instead of creating their own official accounts.
– The lack of legislation to decriminalise artisinal mining has led to government harnessing over 21 tonnes of gold from illegal players.
– The issue of royalties not being taken as an expense in mining has been on the drawing cards for a long time.
– The suspension of customs and excise duty on sanitary ware although just for 12 months is most welcome. Disappointed that there is no rebate for employers of people with disability.
Mr Chivore also highlighted that there is no cancer levy included in the budget despite the fact that cancer is now one of the major killer diseases of our time.
Mr P. Chivore – Deputy Director Parliament Budget Office, presenting on the key highlights of the 2019 Budget and the extent to which it incorporated recommendations from Committees of Parliament.
Join us after a 15 minute health break.
Th informal sector should be built first before subjecting it to taxation.
We need to be transparent and accountable, if the sovereign wealth fund has been put in place, no one should loot it. In China for instance one is killed if they are corrupt. We are not advocating for death but for stringent measures to be taken against corruption.
Almost every District in Zimbabwe has resources, but we lack stewardship, we need better institutions to monitor our resources because God has been very generous to Zimbabwe in terms of resource provision.
Dr Kanyenze spoke of our debt which we must resolve and not push to the next generation. If we do nothing about the debt we will still be saddled with its costs. Costs should be borne by all Zimbabweans.
The market pricing policy will clear the distortions around the exchange rate, say Dr Phindiriri. Issue of domestic debt should be monitored through the Portfolio Committees, it is the role of the legislators to demand answers from the Executive on resource utilisation, replied Dr Kanyenze
The Speaker of Parliament Hon. Adv. J.F. Mudenda and his Deputy Hon T. Gezi have now joined the seminar.
Hon S. Chikwinya asked Dr Kanyenze how best the government can deal with the issues of acting in concert for purposes of ensuring that we grow our economy. He then asked Dr Pindiriri as to whether the TSP is not equal to ESAP.
Government has increased the budget share for infrastructure rehabilitation and development. I urge the Parliamentarians to diligently monitor government expenditure. A salary cap for top civil servants who earn high salaries is better than a blanket 5% reduction in their salaries. Given the rate of inflation the awarding of bonus without the inclusion of allowances is going to be a burden to civil servants this year given the current rate of inflation.
Health and Education have been prioritised in the Budget since we have scarce resources for us to achieve our vision of a middle class income state by 2030. We should channel our resources towards low hanging fruits. The Finance Minster recognised that the US$ is not equivalent to one Bond. He said so in his Budget Statement as he addressed the issue of fuel increases which have become the cheapest in the Region.
Retiring over 2000 youth officers has some benefits where unproductive labour is laid off. Since the government did not have adequate resources, it must be applauded for getting rid of unproductive labour.
We need to learn from the past, what has happened in the previous budgets, not only in our country but from other countries. What are the advantages and we must take democratic ownership of the Short Term Stabilisation Process properly.
Dr C. Pindiriri and Economist from the University of Zimbabwe said that the budget is based on two issues recognised debt and austerity measures. The Budget seeks to remove pricing distortions and encourage market forces to determine pricing.
The calibre of the Minister of Finance does not matter, for Zimbabwe to turn around its economy. All we require is the involvement of all Zimbabweans in all their diverse sectors to put their heads together and put Zimbabwe first.
Zimbabwe needs to change from rent seeking behaviour. We should put a plug to the habit of plundering of resources by individuals with impunity. Everyone should be held to account if Zimbabwe’s economy is to improve. Our politics should not be polarised because once it becomes toxic, it will affect our efforts to economic recovery.
If Parliamentarians were meticulous in their Oversight Role they could have found out where the US$15 billion revenue in the Chiadzwa Diamond Fields went to.
Zimbabwe can get it if we really want it. We need a paradigm shift in our resource utilisation, incorporating the women and youth in our backward linkage policy.
In the Tourism sector Dr Kanyenze lamented the lack of creativity around tourist resort areas. He urged the sector to come up with a Memorabilia, guided tours where the full history of the resort area will be provided to the tourists. a case in point being the guided tours that are being undertaken by our South African counterparts to areas such as Soweto and Robin Island.
In terms of social safety nets $6 per month per household has been set aside, this falls way below what should be allocated to these vulnerable groups.
Health and Child Welfare has been allocated 6,8% of the budget contrary to the dictates of the Abuja Declaration which stipulates that the Ministry should receive 15% of the national budget.
Parliament should make sure that their Oversight of parastatals creates good corporate governance and that there are no sacred cows.
Mozambique and Zambia our neighbors have attracted investment but the same cannot be said about Zimbabwe. We need to spruce up our act. Gone are the days when being employed by parastatals such as ZESA and NRZ were the employers of choice. We have reduced them into a sorry state.
Zimbabwe has improved by four ranks in terms of the index of Ease of Doing Business that is from 159 out of 190 countries it is now sitting on 155 out of 190.
Zimbabwe is well endowed with resources but sadly saddled with corruption and greedy. Unfortunately this is our Achilles Heel.
In Zimbabwe the salary is not working. The 5% deduction in the salaries for certain categories is not the issue, we need to address the issue of the allowances such a housing, transport, accommodation and school fees which are being paid to top government officials. It remains to be seen if the pronouncements around the 13th cheque are going to be adhered to.
Parliament need to investigate which loans has government taken and to what use have the loans been put to.
Zimbabwe has a debt of 17,7 billion which needs to be cleared. The Minister says that our debt clearance should be done within 12 months. As Zimbabweans we should live within our means.
Zimbabwean has created a culture of impunity where government flouts the law without any punishment. We should have a paradigm shift as Members of Parliament where we hold government to account.
Medical Aid Societies and Pharmacies are demanding payment in real currency much to the chagrin of the ordinary members of the public who had previously deposited hard currencies.
The farming equipment and implements that were issued to known individuals which was then converted to a national debt has serious repercussions to the economy as it is contrary to the principle of he who has a debt must pay.
In Zimbabwe farming has lost its essence when the Budget is not adhered to. Year in year out we have dismally failed to honour our budget as the majority of ministries overspend even without condonation from Parliament.
Zimbabwe has adequate resources but does not get its priorities right. What is needed is to normalise resource management and move away from the habit of relying on one source of resource mobilisation which is domestic mobilisation through taxation.
Part of the challenge in Zimbabwe is that we have not had full space utilisation for diamonds.
In the Budget the Minister revised the growth rate to 4% in 2018 although two weeks earlier he had claimed that Zimbabwe was in the 6% growth rate club.
The opening up of the economy although necessary, does not address the issue of economic growth. Our dashboard should reflect that we are targeting some of the macro-economic issues such as interest rate and unemployment.
Despite having Africa having a 5% annual growth rate, we have not succeeded in reducing poverty and unemployment.
One of the major ills that is counter productive is the problem of corruption. Without its eradication, our dream of achieving middle-class economy by 2030 will remain a pie in the sky.
Essentially the Minister is appealing to Zimbabweans to be united in order to drive the economy forward. Polarisation is a recipe for disaster, in that regard every Zimbabwean should put their shoulders to the wheel.
Parliamentarians need to be careful of the impact of the austerity measures to ensure that there is a balance of interest between their constituencies and government interests.
Zimbabwe’s vision is to have an upper-middle class earning between US$3500 – US$15 000. The Minister of Finance has come up with painful but necessary austerity measures.
Hon. E. Ncube has just kick started the day’s proceedings with a word of prayer, followed by Hon F. T. Mhona the Chairperson of the Budget, Finance and Economic Development Committee who then called Dr G. Kanyenze an Economic Analyst.
The Assistant Clerk of Parliament Mr J. Gandiwa has just announced that the programme will continue without the Presiding Officers who have gone to present themselves to His Excellency, The President, Cde E.D. Mnangagwa in line with the Constitution.