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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 07 DECEMBER 2017 VOL 44 NO NO 26

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PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 7th December, 2017

The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two o’clock p.m.

PRAYERS

(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. SPEAKER

STATUS OF SENATORS AND PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION MEMBERS OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY IN THE CONSTITUENCY DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEES. 

          THE HON. SPEAKER: I wish to clarify a misunderstanding that has come to our attention on the status of Senators and Proportional Representation Members of the National Assembly in the Constituency Development Committees.  Senators and PR Members of Parliament are ex-officio members to the Constituency Development Committees.  By virtue of being Members of Parliament elected under a party list system of proportional representation; in other words, they hold membership to such Committees by right of their offices and positions.  Senators and PR Members are therefore members of all Constituency Development Committees falling under their jurisdiction in terms of Article 92 and 3 of the CDF Constitution.  They have full voting rights as members and are accorded the same participatory rights as any other members of

CDF.

PRESENTATION OF THE 2018 NATIONAL BUDGET

          THE HON. SPEAKER: I have to inform the House that the Minister of Finance and Economic Development will present the 2018 National Budget today, at 1500 hours. 

CUT-OFF DATE FOR THE CONSTITUENCY DEVELOPMENT FUND APPLICATIONS

          THE HON. SPEAKER: I also have to remind Hon. Members that the cut-off date for the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) applications is 15 December, 2017.

          HON. HOLDER:  On a point of order Mr. Speaker. 

I rise on a point of order under privileges and immunities.  Mr. Speaker Sir, we as Members of Parliament are approaching the 15th, I do not want to disturb the smooth flow of the proceedings today.  My point of order is to remind you on the commitment that has been made before the 15th December, 2017 of the remaining outstanding allowances.  We want surety that we will receive our outstanding allowances – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] 

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, order, I want to assure you as I have done in the past and I do not know why you want to begin to doubt now.  The 15th is still far away – [Laughter.] – Order, order, on a more serious note, I want to thank you Hon. Holder and the reminder is taken seriously so that due process is taken care of and that we meet the deadline –[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear].

     HON. MUTSEYAMI: On a point of order. Mr. Speaker Sir.  We have been advised through your office that the cut-off date with regards to setting up CDF committees, opening of bank accounts and submission of papers to Parliament is the 15th December, 2017. Kindly note that on the 15th December, 2017 most of our rural Members of Parliament including myself, the chances of them holding meetings to set up the committees and to open bank accounts will be done between Friday, Saturday and Monday thereabouts. When they are done by then, Parliament would have adjourned to pave way for the congress of the other side.

In that case, Members of Parliament as obedient as we are and as committed as we are to have our CDF put in place, how are we going to manage the submission of the hard copies to Harare all the way from Chipinge? For the good of the nation, if you can look into that seriously so that you see how the travelling will be done since Parliament will be adjourned to submit those papers. I thank you.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Parliament respects the vicissitudes that may arise as explained by yourself Hon. Mutseyami. Parliament also respects the congress of the other side as you put it but rest assured that we are coming back on the 19th up to 21st December, 2017. So you have ample time to bring the papers –[HON. ZWIZWAI: So the deadline is no longer the 15th]. The deadline stands and we will deal with each case on an individual basis because other Members of Parliament are here in Harare. They are in town, so there should not be a problem. We will have to deal with special cases individually.

HON. MLISWA: I want to thank you for affording me this opportunity to contribute. My point of order stems out of the fact that there are numerous promises which were made to Members of Parliament. It was not only the outstanding allowances – we had the former Minister of Finance who was very clear that we will all get duty free certificates. We had the former Minister of Local Government and National Housing also promising us residential stands. A lot of promises have been made. There was also the fact that there is inflation – that they would find ways of mitigating that inflation. How, we do not know but we had said it would be better for us to get it in foreign currency because having it in terms of the rate on the black market will not be good for Government. It would be like admitting there is a black market. The hard currency makes sense and that a lot can be achieved.

So with this, we now come here and we have to contribute to this Budget and you certainly have done us good by having to lead us. We are also players who require to be motivated. We cannot be like kids who are promised ice cream when things are bad - we are told here is a lolly pop you must keep quiet. We are treated like kids all the time. The role of Parliament cannot be ignored. Parliament cannot be under funded. There mere fact that Parliament is underfunded, this really makes us being compromised at the end of the day.

The issue of us having diplomatic passports – I am glad  with the new Minister of Foreign Affairs, I had a tete-a-tete with him today at a certain office where we met and I asked him - do you have any issues giving us diplomatic passports? He did not see any reason why we should not get and he said, why not but if you stop being Members of Parliament you should not be able to get. I am hoping that he carries that spirit with him. We are quite excited that we have a Major General as Minister of Foreign Affairs. People of such ranking do not usually lie and never go against their word and so forth.

The other issue Mr. Speaker is the issue of my ejection from Parliament yesterday. I say this with a heavy heart. I might be wrong at times.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, you do not debate on that one. No, no you cannot debate that.

HON. MLISWA: But I have written a letter to you.

THE HON. SPEAKER: That will be dealt with accordingly.

HON. MLISWA: Thank you.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, Hon Mliswa thank you for your point of order but be advised that the Hon. Speaker does not run an ice cream factory or lolly pops to promise Members of Parliament. When we deal with the welfare of Members of Parliament, we do so with the seriousness it deserves. Therefore, on the issue that you raised in terms of being paid in foreign currency which is an accepted currency of the US as things stand now, I do not see any change. I have not received any change from the Minister of Finance. At the same time, let us trickle memories; you know the events that have taken place and the disruptions that have taken in terms of continuity of issues that we raised in Victoria Falls. I think that must be taken into account again. I can assure you that all the issues have been brought to rail and the current Minister of Finance is seized with the matter. Not only that I have written to His Excellency the President just three days ago, to raise these issues so that Members of Parliament are not despondent. We are together in terms of ensuring that your welfare is taken care of.

As for crucifying the new Minister of Foreign Affairs, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs was very clear at Victoria Falls when he said the diplomatic passport will be a matter to be addressed in the Ninth Parliament. When he said that nobody stood from the floor to oppose that suggestion. I want to say, your silence at Victoria Falls was acquiescence to the fact that the diplomatic passport will be issued to all Members of Parliament in the Ninth Parliament.

          Business was suspended at Twenty-five Minutes to Three   O’clock p.m. and resumed at Three o’clock.

His Excellency, the President E. D. Mnangagwa in attendance.

2018 NATIONAL BUDGET STATEMENT

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA):  Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that leave be granted to present a statement of the Estimated Revenues and Expenditures of the Government for the 2018 financial year and to make provisions for matters ancillary and incidental to this purpose.

This is a requirement, Mr. Speaker Sir, of Subsections 1 and 2 of Section 305 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe as read together with Section 28 (1) (a) of the Public Finance Management Act.  Mr. Speaker Sir, allow me also to first aknowledge the presence of His Excellency the President Cde E. D. Mnangagwa who is coming back to the Chamber for the first time in his new capacity as President of the country. 

Mr. Speaker Sir, I am presenting the Budget speech which is a summary of the full Budget Statement. The other elements of this budget package comprise the full Budget Statement which I table, the Estimates of Expenditure which I also table and there will be a national budget highlight.

Mr. Speaker Sir, this 2018 National Budget has been formulated mindful of the urgent need to address the challenges facing Zimbabwe.  Our country suffers from low business and investor confidence that has been making it difficult for us to attract inward investment flows and therefore unable to generate adequate foreign exchange necessary for supporting economic activity.

Our economy has not been performing to its potential and to the expectations of the citizenry, as demonstrated by low production and export levels, and the resultant prevailing high levels of unemployment, and a continuing deterioration in macro-economic stability.

 

This is notwithstanding our various economic blue prints for the economy to realise sustainable growth, development and poverty eradication.

 

The unsatisfactory performance of the economy is being underpinned by declining domestic and foreign investor confidence levels, against the background of policy inconsistencies in an uncertain and uncompetitive business environment.

 

Furthermore, entrenched weaknesses and indiscipline in the management of public finances are exacerbating the situation, which in turn, transmit vulnerabilities in foreign exchange generation and availability.

 

The gravity of fiscal indiscipline is reflected in failure to adhere to approved Budgets, with significant expenditures being incurred arbitrarily outside Budgeted Votes, and failure to follow laid down systems, at times involving quasi-fiscal expenditures.

 

The above has resulted in persistent fiscal imbalances and consequently, a breakdown of Budgetary systems, laid out processes, and a major fiscal and monetary policy disconnect.

 

Moreso, the fiscal imbalances are being financed, through issuance of Treasury bills and overdrafts with the Reserve Bank, with destabilising consequences on overall macro-economic instability.

 

Our quest for reversing economic decline and eradicating unemployment and poverty can only become reality if we walk the talk with regard to adoption of a paradigm shift in the way we do business and manage our economy, public enterprises and finances.

 

In this regard, the 2018 National Budget presents an opportunity to contribute to a Comprehensive and Coherent Phased Strategy for addressing the widening macro-economic imbalances, guided by the policy direction given by His Excellency, President E. D. Mnangagwa, during his widely acclaimed Inaugural Address on 24 November 2017.

 

His Excellency, the President, made it clear that Government’s economic policy will be predicated on creating conditions for an increased production led economic recovery, targeting attracting Foreign Direct Investment, as a way of tackling the prevailing high levels of unemployment.

 

Furthermore, the new system of economic organisation and management will incorporate elements of market economy in which enterprise is encouraged, while industrialising our economy.

 

As we focus on recovery of our economy, we must shed mis-behaviours and acts of indiscipline which have characterised the past, while we address and reduce the high country risk perception among existing and prospective investors.

 

Above all, the President pledged that all foreign investment will be safe in the country, and that Government will fully abide by the terms of Bilateral Investment Protection and Promotion Agreements Zimbabwe has already acceded to.

 

The President also underscored that Government will, henceforth, ensure that servicing and re-scheduling of domestic and external public debt obligations is consistent with agreements with lenders and creditors, under the auspices of definitive steps towards re-engagement and strengthening of cooperation with the international community.

 

The above commitments by His Excellency, the President mark a paradigm shift that represents movement towards a ‘New Economic Order’.

 

This is consistent with advancing the objectives of the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim Asset), as well as the Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (I-PRSP) for 2016-2018.

 

Our development aspirations are also aligned with Agenda 2063, which is Africa’s strategic framework for the socio-economic transformation of the Continent.

 

Hence, the formulation of the 2018 Budget benefited from the above guidance by His Excellency, the President.

 

Drawing from the paradigm shift, the 2018 Budget contains Expenditure management measures to re-orient the Budget towards support for developmental programmes and projects, as well as those centred on poverty alleviation.

 

Furthermore, drawing from the macro-economic framework, the 2018 Budget also calls for adherence to fiscal anchors for the containment of the Budget deficit to sustainable levels.

 

Complementary measures aimed at transforming the business environment and stimulating production, as well as curbing corruption, and addressing rampant rent-seeking behaviours, and market indiscipline, are also part of the Budget.

 

In crafting the 2018 Budget, Treasury also benefitted from submissions of various stakeholders calling for policy interventions and measures that target promoting high investment, production and increased foreign exchange generation.

 

As part of these consultations, Parliament hosted the Annual Pre-Budget Seminar over 8-12 November 2017 at the Elephant Hills Hotel in Victoria Falls.

 

Under the theme, ‘Consolidating Economic Development and Transformation through Domestic Resource Mobilisation and Utilisation’, submissions from the various Portfolio Committees of Parliament also richly benefitted the formulation of the 2018 Budget.

 

CHAPTER 1: ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTS & PROSPECTS

 

1.           The formulation of the 2018 Budget is against the background of projected positive GDP growth of 3.7% for 2017, against a target of 1.7%, and up from 0.7% during 2016.

 

2.           Notwithstanding the growth being experienced, the economy faces some strong headwinds and challenges.

 

Global and Regional Markets

 

3.           The global upswing in economic activity, which started in the second half of 2016 is strengthening, and is projected to rise to 3.6% in 2017 and to 3.7 % in 2018.

Global Economic Growth & Outlook (%)

 

2016 Estimate

2017 Projection

2018 Projection

World Output

3.2

3.6

3.7

Advanced Economies

1.7

2.2

2

United States

1.5

2.2

2.3

Euro Area

1.8

2.1

1.9

Japan

1

1.5

0.7

Emerging Market & Developing Economies

4.3

4.6

4.9

China

6.7

6.8

6.5

India

7.1

6.7

7.4

Sub-Saharan Africa

1.4

2.6

3.4

Zimbabwe[1]

0.7

3.7

3

Latin America & the Caribbean

-0.9

1.2

1.9

Source: IMF/World Bank Outlook (October 2017)

 

4.           Economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is projected at an average of 2.6% in 2017, up from 1.4% recorded in 2016. Growth is expected to further increase to 3.4% in 2018, with sizable differences across countries.

5.           Fiscal deficits are stabilising, and current account deficits are narrowing in most Sub-Saharan African countries, partly reflecting a slight rebound in commodity prices.

 

6.           There are, however, mounting vulnerabilities in the region, notably, rising public debt, financial sector strains and low external buffers. Public debt is high, not only in oil exporting countries, but in many fast-growing economies as well.

 

Commodity Prices

 

7.           While efforts are underway to diversify the economy away from over-reliance on commodity exports in the medium to long term, our current reality places significant reliance on unprocessed and semi-processed raw commodities such as gold, tobacco and platinum as the country's foreign exchange lifelines.

 

8.           In this regard, global developments in commodity prices have a major bearing on our economy’s foreign exchange liquidity position.

 

Commodity Price Indices (2010=100)

Source: World Bank

 

9.           While developments this year indicate some recovery in prices of international commodities, from the rock-bottom levels that were reached at the beginning of 2016, prices remain depressed compared to the levels that were attained in 2012.

 

10.        Gold prices, which since January 2017 had been rallying on account of safe haven demand and heightened geo-political tensions, rose by 10% in September 2017 to reach US$1 316 per ounce.

 

11.        Volatile prices then retreated to $1 280 per ounce in October 2017, on a strengthening US dollar and expectations of higher interest rates in the United States.

 

12.        Platinum prices largely traded unchanged during the period January to September 2017, amid weak investment demand.

 

Domestic Developments

 

13.        On the domestic front, the 3.7% growth estimate for 2017 is underpinned by agriculture, mining, electricity generation and services sectors, mainly tourism and communication.

 

14.        In the outlook, growth is anticipated to remain above[2]4.5%, premised on Government charting a new way forward with economic and investment recovery measures towards a ‘New Economic Order’, underpinned by strengthening of cooperation with global partners.

 

Agriculture

 

15.        Agriculture is estimated to grow by 14.6% in 2017[3], on the back of Government coordinated interventions in partnership with the private sector.

16.        In addition, the expanded “Command Agriculture” Programme, to include soya beans and livestock production, is expected to sustain growth of the sector.

 

Mining

 

17.        Mining is expected to grow by 8.5%[4] in 2017, with most minerals anticipated to record output gains in the medium term.

 

18.        This is being supported by modest recovery in international mineral prices for most minerals, including nickel, platinum, chrome and granite.

 

19.        As a result, mineral export receipts of US$2.5 billion are projected for 2018, up from US$2.3 billion in 2017.

 

International Commodity Price Indices

Source: International Monetary Fund

 

20.        The consolidation of the diamond industry, together with the capitalisation of the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company, saw marked improvement in output.

 

21.        As at end of September, diamond output stood at 1.8 million carats, up from 1.3 million recorded during the whole of 2016.

 

22.        With regards to coal, management changes at Hwange Colliery, together with the company’s recapitalisation, led to considerable recovery in production.

 

23.        Coal output rose from as little as 30 000 tonnes per month in the first quarter of 2017, to about 300 000 tonnes per month.

 

24.        This translates to cumulative coal output of 2.4 million tonnes by the third quarter, from 363 000 tonnes of the first quarter.

 

25.        As at end of October 2017, overall mineral export receipts were around US$2 billion, against US$1.6 billion during the same period in 2016, representing 25.2% of the country’s total exports.

 

Gold Deliveries

 

26.        Gold deliveries to Fidelity Refiners have benefitted from interventions targeting support to small scale miners by Government, as well as plugging of leakages through joint compliance monitoring.

 

27.        This is a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, Ministry of Home Affairs and Culture, and the Reserve Bank.

 

28.        Through these efforts, gold purchases by Fidelity Refiners stood at 17 163 kgs during the period January to September 2017.  This is 12% higher than purchases of the corresponding period in 2016. Small scale producers accounted for 51% of the delivered 17.2 tonnes.

 

2017 Gold Purchases by Fidelity Refiners (kgs)

Source: Fidelity Printers and Refiners

 

29.        On the back of performance displayed during this period, the country remains on course to meet the target of 24.5 tonnes of gold deliveries through Fidelity for the entire 2017.

 

Industry

 

30.        This year, growth in manufacturing is estimated at 1%, with projections of 2.1% in 2018[5], benefitting from improved agro processing value chains in foodstuffs, drinks, and ginning, also amid supportive import management measures.

 

External Sector

 

31.        Notwithstanding signs of improvement in exports, the overall balance of payments situation remains under pressure, with foreign exchange availability to support domestic production constrained.

 

32.        The economy’s import bill is still relatively high, with imports estimated to rise to US$6.8 billion, from US$6.4 billion in 2016. This is despite a sharp drop in food imports.

 

33.        Growth in imports is driven by increased demand for raw materials and equipment for the productive sectors of the economy, consistent with the pick-up in economic activity in 2017.

 

34.        Such high levels of import dependency, relative to estimated exports of US$4.6 billion for the year, imply continued foreign exchange imbalances, though trade statistics indicate narrowing of the trade balance. 

 

35.        The country's current account deficit, estimated at US$1 billion, hence, remains unsustainable, and is financed mostly by debt creating flows in the form of loans being contracted by both the private and public sectors.

 

Financial Sector

 

36.        Cognisant of the critical role of the banking sector in promoting Zim Asset economic recovery initiatives, the Reserve Bank continued to employ measures aimed at ensuring safety and soundness of the banking sector.

 

37.        Against this background, for the nine months ending September 2017, the banking sector remained stable on the back of adequate capitalisation, improved earnings and satisfactory asset quality.

 

38.        To this end, as at 30 September 2017, all banking institutions were adequately capitalised and in compliance with minimum capital requirements.

 

39.        The major challenge, however, has remained and continued experiences of underlying shortages of physical cash, on the back of structural challenges in the economy.

 

40.        In this regard, the Reserve Bank will continue to promote a ‘cash-lite’ society by encouraging increased digital banking platforms, and use of plastic money.

 

Interest Rates

 

41.        The provision of affordable banking services and access to credit is an integral component of Zim Asset initiatives to promote financial inclusion and boost productive capacity.

 

42.        In this regard, banking institutions are progressively reviewing the level of their lending rates and bank charges.

 

43.        The structure of interest rates as at 30 September 2017 was as follows:

 

·       Average banking sector interest rates spread,10.38%;

 

·       Average maximum effective lending rates, 12.52%, compared to 15.7 % as at December 2016; and

 

·       Deposit rates, 0.5- 6%.

 

44.        The Reserve Bank is continuing collaborative engagements with banking institutions to enhance credit to the productive sectors of the economy and ensure availability of affordable banking services and products.

 

Financial Inclusion

 

45.        In this regard, the Reserve Bank has been making efforts to ensure that a large proportion of the population is financially literate and able to access financial services on offer within the country, which include banking services and mobile money.

 

46.        The success rate of the use of plastic and electronic money has seen more than 75% of retail transactions now being done electronically.

 

47.        Furthermore, Government financial inclusion initiatives have also targeted broadening access and provision of vulnerable groups with financial services, critical for sustainable economic growth and development.

 

48.        Such groups include the youth, women and micro, small and medium enterprises.

 

49.        This has seen the Reserve Bank intervene to :

 

·       Licence the Zimbabwe Women's Micro-Finance Bank Limited (a deposit taking micro-finance institution targeting women) on 14 September 2017; and

 

·       Initiate licencing of the Youth Empower Bank Limited, a deposit-taking micro-finance institution, targeting the youth.

 

Banking Sector Liquidity

 

50.        Banking sector deposits maintained an upward trajectory, increasing by 17.1%, from US$6.51 billion as at end December 2016, to US$7.62 billion as at end of September 2017.

 

51.        However, in the challenging macro-economic operating environment, lending has remained subdued, with total banking sector loans and advances increasing only marginally, from US$3.64 billion to US$3.73 billion as at end September 2017.

 

52.        Lending to the productive sectors of the economy constituted 70% of total sector loans as at 30 September 2017.

 

Asset Quality

 

53.        The quality of the banking sector loan book has gradually improved over the years, from a peak ratio of non-performing loans (NPLs) to total loans of 20.45% in September 2014, to 8.63% as at end September 2017.

 

54.        Banks have continued to strengthen their credit risk management systems, to complement the reduction of NPLs arising from the disposal of their toxic assets to ZAMCO.

 

Credit Infrastructure

 

55.        The Reserve Bank has made significant progress in enhancing the credit infrastructure through the establishment of a Credit Registry and Collateral Registry.

 

56.        This initiative is improving the quality of loans in the banking sector, through removal of information asymmetry, and broadening collateral required by banks.

 

57.        Going forward, the Reserve Bank will continue to intensify consumer awareness programmes, and introduce value added products that will enrich stakeholder experience, including convenient access by consumers to their credit reports via mobile platforms.

 

Access to Cash

 

58.        The prevailing cash shortages continue to impose untold hardships on the generality of the population, particularly among the poor and rural areas.

 

59.        Government, through the Reserve Bank, continues to institute measures to ensure that the public is able to access their earnings and savings as and when they need them.

 

60.        However, sustained success will benefit from improvement in confidence, through addressing the primary drivers of the problem.

 

61.        Central is mismatch between stock of foreign currency available, as represented by hard currency and nostro balances, and electronic RTGS money balances in banks, largely being fueled by borrowing requirements to finance the Budget deficit. 

 

62.        It is also for this reason that the New Economic Order is targeting to enhance production and exports by adopting investor friendly policies, re-engaging with the world, easing the way we do business, addressing corruption and indiscipline.

 

63.        Meanwhile, Government is appreciative of the response of the general public in embracing use of plastic money and mobile transactions, with more than 75% of retail transactions now being done through electronic transfers.

 

Inflation Outlook

 

64.        Price developments in the economy have now reversed, from previous experiences of deflation to onset of rising prices.

 

65.        In September 2017, monthly prices rose by 0.4%. On an annual basis, this translated into inflation of 0.8% for the twelve months to September.

 

Inflation Developments

Source: ZIMSTAT

 

66.        In the outlook, the biggest threat emanates from inflationary pressures that the economy faces from potential general price hikes driven by speculative tendencies, arising from the mis-match between electronic bank balances and available foreign exchange.

 

 

Annual Headline, Food and Non-Food Inflation

Source: ZimStat

 

67.        The emergence of foreign exchange rate premiums on the back of foreign currency shortages is, thus, symptomatic of the above mis-matches that remain the key driver of inflation.

 

Foreign Exchange Prioritisation

 

68.        Reserve Bank interventions to prioritise foreign currency allocations to producers of essential goods and services should partly assist overcome such premiums.

 

69.        This should be complemented by Government exercising flexibility in the issuance of import licences to those with free funds, in order to ensure that the market is adequately supplied with essential goods not produced locally.

 

70.        This is moreso, given the increased demand towards the festive season.

 

71.        However, overall, the above initiatives merely address the symptoms, and require to be buttressed by measures which address fundamental issues related to fiscal imbalances and low production.

 

Administrative Levies

 

72.        On the domestic front, the new Statutory Instrument 129 of 2017 that introduced a levy on cattle slaughters, day old chick and raw milk sales, also has potential to increase food inflation through cost-push channels.

 

External Factors

 

73.        From the external side, the recent increase in international oil prices, if sustained, is expected to increase inflationary pressures going forward.

 

74.        However, the weakening in the South African rand would dampen inflation in Zimbabwe, through trade and economic linkages between the two neighbouring countries.

 

CHAPTER 2:    TOWARDS A NEW ECONOMIC ORDER

 

75.        The challenges facing the economy demand well thought-out, and focused, Government interventions for a much more rapid and sustained recovery path that delivers on jobs as envisaged and outlined in His Excellency President E.D. Mnangagwa’s Inaugural Address.

 

New Economic Order

 

76.        The Recovery Measures towards a ‘New Economic Order’ usher a break away from policy inconsistencies, reversals and hesitations of the past, and signal a strong Business Unusual Approach.

 

77.        Over the years, corrective measures to address the apparent fiscal indiscipline have constantly been proffered and, in a number of cases, Cabinet has embraced recommendations made, only for these to be arbitrarily reversed or ignored, reflective of lack of political will.

 

78.        Restoration of confidence in the economy, promotive of investment, production, employment creation and sustainable growth, development and poverty reduction will not be realised in such an environment.

 

79.        The ‘New Economic Order’, therefore, gears towards restoring discipline, fostering a stronger culture of implementation, supported by political will in dealing with the following:

 

·          Correcting the Fiscal Imbalances and Financial Sector Vulnerabilities;

·          Public Enterprises and Local Authorities Reform;

·          Improving the unconducive Investment Environment;

·          Dealing with Corruption in the Economy;

·          Re-engagement with the International Community;

·          Stimulating Production, and Exporting; as well as

·          Creation of Jobs.

 

80.        The overriding aspiration is upliftment of social-economic conditions of the populace, through making short-term sacrifices that allow the Budget to play its rightful role in addressing production, job creation, and poverty reduction.

 

81.        Central is addressing the high prevalence of unemployment, against the background of vulnerabilities adversely affecting the sustainability of production, with the major one being the mounting demand pressures for foreign exchange.

 

82.        We must be bold to set annual targets for creation of decent jobs and strive to spread these across the various sectors of the economy.

 

83.        This requires that Government collectively acknowledges the risks and costs brought about by directing a dis-proportionate share of Budget expenditures towards salaries, allowances and other consumptive expenditures, such as condition of service vehicles and travel, among others.

 

84.        Accordingly, the Budget themeTowards a New Economic Order is drawn from this recognition and acknowledgement.

 

CHAPTER 3: FISCAL IMBALANCES & ANCHORS

 

Fiscal Imbalances

 

85.        At the heart of the economy’s fundamental economic challenges is an unsustainable Budget deficit, whose financing through issuance of Treasury bills and recourse to the overdraft with the Reserve Bank is untenable.

 

86.        This is also at the core of factors driving the demand for foreign exchange, as well as creation of excess money supply, which is largely in the form of electronic RTGS[6] and mobile money balances.

 

87.        These money balances are accessible through RTGS transactions, card swipes, as well as such mobile platforms as Eco-Cash, One-Money and Tele-Cash. Physical cash is a small proportion of the economy’s overall financial sector liquidity.

 

88.        Money creation, through domestic money market instruments which do not match with available foreign currency, only serves to weaken the value of the same instruments, translating into rapid build-up in inflationary pressures, to the detriment of financial and macro-economic stability.

 

89.        This has seen growing mis-matches between electronic money balances and the stock of real foreign exchange balances, as reflected by cash holdings and nostro balances of banks.

 

90.        The mis-match between the supply and demand for foreign exchange, has also led to the emergence of foreign exchange premiums in the market.

 

91.        Higher demand from imported feedstock required in the domestic manufacture of goods, in line with the promulgation of Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016, is also exerting pressure on foreign exchange requirements.

 

92.        Hence, while the panic buying of 22-23 September 2017 was largely driven by speculative tendencies, it was also an indication of the diminished confidence and underlying vulnerability that arises from the disparity between electronic money balances, and available foreign exchange.

 

93.        In addition, the growth in money supply witnessed in the past few months, emanating from the purchase of agricultural produce by the GMB, and the domestic financing of the Presidential and Command Agricultural programmes, coupled with heightened inflation expectations, have a great potential to adversely affect the inflation outlook.

 

94.        This calls for the Reserve Bank to put in place policy measures to sterilise the impact on the stock of money supply/RTGS balances within the economy.

 

95.        The 2018 National Budget, therefore, focusses on consolidating the fiscus in order to restore and maintain macro-economic stability, as well as financial sector resilience, that way re-building the necessary confidence for promoting economic activity.

 

96.        The room for domestic financing of the large fiscal deficit has now been fully depleted, and additional monetary financing of the deficit can only lead to inflation and further economic deterioration.

 

Fiscal Anchors

 

97.        Consequently, it is paramount that the‘New Economic Order’ judiciously adopts Fiscal Anchors, in order to instil and strengthen fiscal discipline for effectively improving Budget management and enhancing co-ordination of fiscal and monetary policies.

 

98.        The Fiscal Anchors for the Budget relate to:

 

·             Fiscal Deficit Targeting, under which the Budget deficit for 2018 is halved to below 4% of GDP, and subsequently capping Budget deficits below 3%, in line with best practices and financing capacity of the economy;

 

·             Sustainable level of Public Debt to GDP, consistent with Section 11(2) of the Public Debt Management Act [Chapter 22:21] which requires that the total outstanding Public and Publicly Guaranteed Debt as a ratio of GDP should not exceed 70% at the end of any fiscal year;

 

·             Ceiling of Government Borrowing from the Central Bank,in line with Section 11(1) of the Reserve Bank Act [Chapter 22:15],which requires that Reserve Bank lending to the State at any time shall not exceed 20% of the previous year’s Government revenues; and

 

·             Minimum Spending on Infrastructure, by re-directing substantial resources towards capital development priorities, through increasing the capital Budget thresholds from the current 11% to 15% in 2018 and 25% by 2020.

 

·             Progressive reduction of the share of Employment Costs in the Budget to initially 70% in 2018, 65% in 2019, and below 60% of total revenue by 2020, to create fiscal space to accommodate financing of the development Budget and operations of Government.

 

99.        Central to adherence to the above Fiscal Anchors will be discipline and the political will to implement the necessary measures, avoiding arbitrary reversals to agreed Cabinet policy positions that entail pain and sacrifice.

 

100.    Already, Cabinet, has over the past, made several resolutions for implementation of measures that re-orient Budget expenditures towards priority development programmes.

 

101.    In this regard, Cabinet took specific decisions over measures to reduce the wage bill from consuming over 85% of Budget revenues.

 

102.    The most recent relate to decisions made during the 18thCabinet Meeting of 13 June 2017directing Treasury to engage line Ministries on expenditure reduction and revenue raising measures, as well as the 34thMeeting of 24 October 2017.

 

103.    Regrettably, no meaningful follow up on the implementation of the above resolutions was undertaken.

 

104.    Hence, the 2018 National Budget’s main objective is to, first and foremost, correct fiscal imbalances in order to build the necessary confidence and also eliminate vulnerabilities to the financial sector, that way creating a conducive environment for investment, growth and employment creation.

 

CHAPTER 4: EXPENDITURE MANAGEMENT

 

105.    The thrust of the 2018 Budget, consistent with the ‘New Economic Order’, calls for the implementation of a phased but Comprehensive and Coherent Expenditure Management Strategy that allows for re-orientation of resources towards development programmes that benefit the generality of our population.

 

106.    Central is the implementation of decisions Cabinet has already taken, realising the unsustainability of our public finances, but on which Government prevaricated when the political will to implement was called for.

 

107.    Accordingly, and taking account of some of the critical measures which were approved but were not implemented, the following specific expenditure management measures are being proposed in line with the Fiscal Anchors highlighted above.

 

Wage Bill

 

108.    Measures towards reduction of the wage bill centre on the following:

 

Freeze on Recruitment

 

109.    The policy on the freezing of vacant posts in the public service has greatly assisted in containing the wage bill, thus assisting towards efforts to re-orient Budget expenditures.

 

110.    Notwithstanding this Government policy stance, Treasury continues to receive requests to fill vacant posts across the board, which would impose unbudgeted additional requirements to the wage bill.

 

111.    In this regard, the freeze on recruitment is maintained across the board, save for critical posts, as determined by Treasury in conjunction with Service Commissions.

 

Retirements

 

112.    A number of public officials continue to be engaged in the public service well beyond their retirement age.

 

113.    In this regard, from January 2018, Government will, through the Service Commissions, retire staff above the age of 65.

 

114.    Staff  that retire will be assisted with access to capital, to facilitate their meaningful contribution towards economic development, including taking advantage of allocated land, for those who are beneficiaries of the land reform programme.

 

115.    Furthermore, Government will also introduce a voluntary retirement scheme that serves to rationalise the public service wage bill, whilst providing financial incentives to beneficiaries to engage in economic activities in such areas as farming, and start-up of small business enterprises.

 

Duplication of Functions

 

116.    The Cabinet decision to abolish the Youth Officer posts under the Ministry of Youth, Indigenisation & Empowerment and transfer the roles and function to the Ward Development Coordinators in the Ministry of Women, Gender and Community Development is being implemented with immediate effect.

 

117.    This will rationalise the total Youth Officers and Ward Development Coordinators establishment down by 3 739 from 7 269 to 3 530, translating to savings of US$1.6 million per month and US$19.3 million per annum.

 

118.    Furthermore, 528 members of the Public Service without the requisite qualifications in terms of Section 18(4) e (ii) of the Public Service Regulations are being retired.

 

119.    The retirement of the above members will entail payment of a severance package estimated at US$8.7 million.

 

Size of Executive

 

120.    Already, His Excellency, the President has taken the first steps towards a lean Government structure by beginning to reduce the size of Government by trimming down the number of Ministries from 27 to 21.

 

121.    In this regard, savings will be realised progressively through identification of redundant staff, as Ministries are combined and rationalised.

 

Fuel Benefit Levels

 

122.    Pursuant to observations by the Auditor-General which highlighted inconsistencies in the setting of fuel allocation levels in Ministries, the Office of the President and Cabinet and Treasury reviewed and standardised fuel benefit levels as communicated through Cabinet Circular, Number 12 of 2017 and Treasury Circular, Number 5 of 2016 respectively.

 

123.    Within the context of rationalising public expenditures, Treasury will strengthen its monitoring over adherence to the stipulated limits.

 

Personal Issue Vehicles

 

124.    Currently, too many grades in the Public Services are provided with vehicles as a Condition of Service every five years, with the vehicles being licenced, insured, serviced and repaired at Government expense.

 

125.    The total outstanding request for Condition of Service vehicles is now close to US$140 million, which the economy in its state cannot afford.

 

126.    Government, therefore, has reviewed the vehicle Scheme as follows:

 

·                   Permanent Secretaries and equivalent grades, one personal issue vehicle;

 

·                   Commissioners and equivalent grades, one vehicle; and

 

·                   Principal Directors, Directors and Deputy Directors and their equivalents, vehicle loan scheme.

 

Foreign Business Travel

 

127.    Measures to contain Budget expenditures, and conserve scarce foreign currency, will extend to review of foreign business travel practices.

 

Size of Delegations

 

128.    Experience has shown that Zimbabwe delegations to regional and international fora being among the largest from the region at such gatherings.

 

129.    In this regard, the following requirements now apply:

 

·       Strict reduction in the size of delegations to levels that are absolutely necessary; and

 

·       Where there is Diplomatic presence, taking advantage of this to realise representation in outside meetings.

 

130.    Therefore, as part of approval of Cabinet Authorities for external travel, the Office of the President and Cabinet, and Treasury will be enforcing rationalisation of the size of delegations, in compliance with this new requirement, without exception.

 

Class of Travel

 

131.    As directed by His Excellency, 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.

 

132.    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.

 

133.    All those below the above stipulated grades will be restricted to Economy class travel regardless of flight duration, with immediate effect.

 

134.    Accordingly, all the respective Heads of Ministries, Government Agencies, Local Authorities, State enterprises, and all institutions that have potential to make a charge on the Exchequer are being directed to abide by this policy directive with immediate effect.

 

135.    This policy directive should be communicated to all staff.

 

136.    It should also be noted that the above directive does not do away with other expenditure reduction initiatives which could have been adopted by some entities, but complements them.

 

137.    For the avoidance of doubt, the entities that are covered under this policy position are tabulated in Annexure 10.

 

138.    Disciplinary measures will be instituted against anyone in violation of this directive and the cost incurred on such travel will be recovered directly from the individual involved.

 

Foreign Service Missions

 

139.    Currently, Zimbabwe has Diplomatic presence at 46 Embassies and Consulates, manned by both home based and locally recruited staff.

 

140.    The above Diplomatic presence is imposing annual Budget support levels of around US$65 million, which is far above available capacity.

 

141.    Pursuant to this, His Excellency, the President has approved the downsizing of our Diplomatic Missions, taking account of our current economic environment and affordability principles.

 

142.    Rationalisation of Diplomatic Missions will balance the cost of maintaining Missions, and the business value being realised. 

 

Rentals at Foreign Missions

 

143.    With regards to residential rentals at Foreign Missions, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is in the process of determining rental ceilings for officials at various Missions.

 

144.    The rental ceilings will be based on the officials’ grade, as well as the expected Diplomatic zones that they are expected to reside, and will be country specific.

 

Conditions of Service for Locally Recruited Staff

 

145.    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in consultation with the Public Service Commission, has initiated the process to rationalise establishments for locally recruited staff, as well as adjusting their pay structure.

 

146.    The monthly wage bill for Locally Recruited Staff currently stands at US$355 000, which translates into an annual bill of US$4.3 million.

 

147.    It is important that this process be expedited in order to realise savings in 2018.

 

Cost of Governance

 

Provincial and Metropolitan Structures

 

148.    Funding of the Provincial and Metropolitan structures, as set out in Chapter 14, Section 264 of the Constitution, is not sustainable and Political Parties represented in Parliament should, in the future, give consideration to amending the Constitution to lessen the burden on the fiscus.

 

Constitutional Commissions

 

149.    The good intentions over improving Governance, deriving from our Constitution impose some fiscal over-heads through establishment of various Constitutional Commissions.

 

150.    Currently, the majority of Commissions are set up on an executive basis, and hence, imposing an annual wage bill of around US$11.6 million, inclusive of US$3.8 million for Commissioners.

 

151.    In this regard, Government will, with effect from 2018, be reviewing this provision to allow for only the Chairperson to be engaged on a permanent basis, leaving the rest of the Commissioners being part time, and remunerated with modest allowances, that way devolving responsibility for day to day operations to Secretariat staff. 

 

152.    This should be complemented by rationalisation and restructuring of organisational structures, with a view of containing costs.

 

Vehicles for Commissioners

 

153.    Currently, Commissionsare also required to provide condition of service vehicles, to Commissioners, which the National Budget has been struggling to finance.

 

154.    Condition of service vehicle requests for Commissioners alone would require an amount of close to US$10 million, which the 2018 Budget has no capacity to provide for. 

 

155.    In line with the need to reduce the cost of our governance, Government is, therefore, reviewing this position to allow the provision of one vehicle to those that are full time, as deemed necessary.

 

Sub-Contracted Security Services

 

156.    The current arrangement where Government buildings and facilities countrywide are secured through sub-contracted security services is expensive, resulting in an annual bill of US$15.3 million.

 

157.    Government is, therefore, migrating away from labour-intensive to ICT based security systems that entail, among other interventions, installation of biometric access systems, use of cameras and sensors in securing premises and facilities and solar security lighting.

 

Implementation of Public Sector Projects

 

158.    In line with the thrust towards a “New Economic Order” by His Excellency President E.D. Mnangagwa, Government is also moving in to improve accountability and monitoring over implementation of Public Sector Investment Projects.

 

Execution of Projects

 

159.    This is against the background of risks and weaknesses that have often delayed project completion, increased cost and time over runs, as well as lower the quality of completed works, requiring additional Budget outlays towards costly rehabilitation works.

 

160.    Project implementation during 2017 saw stalling of execution on some Budget priority projects, against the background of limited accountability and absence of unity of purpose, with disagreements between key players compromising implementation and completion across various sectors.

 

161.    Furthermore, failure to adequately maintain the existing infrastructure has reduced the benefits accruing from public investments.

 

Coordination

 

162.    In some instances, Treasury has had to intervene in order to enforce coordination between Ministries and departments to ensure smooth project implementation. 

 

163.    The 2018 Budget, will, therefore, implement measures that improve the way we plan, finance and deliver infrastructure projects, including better coordination between Government Ministries and departments, in order to get value from such investments.

 

Public Investment Management Guidelines

 

164.    Going forward, all new projects will be subject to governance procedures, as provided for in the Public Investment Management Guidelines and Manuals.

 

165.    The Zimbabwe Public Investment Management Guidelines, which Treasury is unveiling, will enhance the quality of public investment preparation, appraisal, and selection, as well as provide line Ministries and implementing Agencies with best practices in project implementation.

 

166.    Key among the requirements are the following:

 

·       Projects submitted for funding through the Budget should have prior rigorous detailed appraisal and formal approval by Treasury, and should be aligned to National/Ministry strategic objectives;

 

·       Sustainable funding options should have been clearly determined, including detailed costing of works to be undertaken, which should be validated by Treasury prior to commencement of works;

 

·       Establishment of formal Project Committees within Ministries and implementing agencies, to ensure that all key steps in the project management process are followed, comprising of strategic guidance and appraisal, project selection and budgeting, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, as well as audit;

 

·       Commitment management for each project will be strengthened to ensure we avoid accruing liabilities that are not covered by the available Budget; and

 

·       Any variations to scope and cost of above 10% of the total project cost shall not be effected without prior approval of the responsible authority and Treasury.

 

167.    The above measures will be complemented by measures to capacitate implementing agencies through training of technical staff for effective project management.

 

168.    The Zimbabwe Public Investment Management Guidelines will apply to projects implemented by central Government Ministries, Local Authorities, State Enterprises and Parastatals, as well as Development Partner funded projects that impose a cost on the Budget.

 

169.    In support of the utilisation of the Guidelines by stakeholders, training sessions will be conducted for all implementing agencies across the various sectors of Government.

 

170.    The Guidelines will be effective starting 1 January 2018, and in preparation for their dissemination and engagement with stakeholders, Treasury is availing copies of the Guidelines, as well as uploading the same on the Treasury website www.zimtreasury.gov.zw from December 8, 2017.

 

Public Enterprises & Local Authorities

 

171.    Treasury has also been inundated with requests for direct Budget support for recapitalisation by State Owned Enterprises and, in most cases, such requests lack adequate justification and hence, only pose further fiscal risks.

 

172.    Fiscal balance under the ‘New Economic Order,’however, necessitates that public enterprises, including Local Authorities, cease to exist just to pay salaries and wages, and incur financial deficits.

 

173.    Hence, Government is, beginning 2018, putting a stop to unabated flow of Budget resources to Public Enterprises and Local Authorities without any returns, either through dividends or meaningful public service delivery.

 

174.    I, therefore, emphasise that Government support to public entities will, strictly be conditional on credible and bankable turn-around strategies, complemented stringent cost containment measures.

 

175.    State Enterprises that exhibit potential will be reformed, while those which cannot be rehabilitated will be privatised or face outright closure.

 

Public Enterprise Reform

 

176.    Our public enterprises remain a draw back through their inefficiencies, with their contribution to the economy down from around 60% to current levels of about 2%.

 

177.    Their inefficient operations are a drain on the Budget, over and above serving to worsen the high cost of doing business in the economy.

 

178.    Last year’s financial audits indicate that 38 out of 93 public enterprises incurred a combined US$270 million loss, as a result of weak corporate governance practices and ineffective control mechanisms.

 

179.    In addition, 70% of these entities are technically insolvent, representing an actual or potential drain on the fiscus.

 

180.    Further, fiscal risks also arise from debts assumption, re-capitalisation requirements and called-up guarantees.

 

181.    Despite the under-performance of these entities, management at most parastatals continues to enjoy huge salaries and benefits, which breach Cabinet’s directive of packages not to exceed 30% of total revenues.

 

182.    Hence, Government, in pursuit of improving corporate governance in state enterprises has since developed the Public Entities Corporate Governance Bill which, together with the respective Regulations, is being finalised.

 

Resuscitation of Cold Storage Company

 

183.    The sub-sector will benefit from efforts being taken by Government to ensure resuscitation of Cold Storage Company.

 

184.    This draws from the decision already taken by Cabinet that Government cedes 80% of its shareholding in CSC to the National Social Security Authority (NSSA).

 

185.    In turn, NSSA will direct the resources towards resuscitation of the operations of CSC, in particular the resuscitation of the cattle scheme which is critical for increased beef production for domestic and export markets.

 

CHAPTER 5: PUBLIC FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT

 

Improved Public Accountability

 

Alignment of the PFM Act

 

186.    The PFM Act of 2010, is being realigned to the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment No. 20 of 2013.

 

187.    This is to allow the PFM Act to:

 

·       Incorporate Constitutional principles relating to public finance management;

 

·       Align the Act to relevant international agreements;

 

·       Cross-reference the Act with the Procurement Act, the Public Debt Management Act, as well as other relevant statutes; and

 

·       Embrace the principle of gender responsive budgeting and elimination of discrimination against women.

 

188.    The amendment of the PFM Act will also provide for the allocation of the not less than 5% of national revenues raised in any financial year to Provincial and Local Authorities as is required in terms of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, Section 301 (3).

 

189.    Furthermore, the amendment will also broaden the scope of institutions subject to audit by the Auditor-General.

 

Migration to Accrual Accounting

 

190.    Public Financial Statements are currently prepared on the principle of Cash Accounting. 

 

191.    Consistent with the requirements of the Public Accountants and Auditors Board for adoption of International Public Sector Accounting Standards Framework, Government is migrating from 1 January 2018, to Accrual Accounting, also to boost transparency and accountability as well as ensure uniformity in reporting.

 

Chart of Accounts

 

192.    Treasury has developed a new Chart of Accounts for central Government effective 1 January 2018. The old one is derived from financial classifications.

 

193.    The new Chart of Accounts will embrace all economic classifications for the purposes of enhancing consolidation, preparation and presentation of timely, accurate and reliable financial and fiscal reports.

 

Accounting & Internal Control

 

194.    Treasury Instructions and PFM Regulations are in the process of being rolled out to line Ministries to ensure compliance and adherence to accounting and internal control provisions.

 

195.    The awareness campaigns over the strengthening of Accounting and Internal Control Systems are currently being undertaken across all Provinces.

 

Accounting Manual

 

196.    Treasury is in the process of drafting an Accounting Manual that sets out the standards, frameworks, policies and procedures to be followed in accounting for various transactions and aspects of public funds.

 

197.    The effective date for the new Accounting Manual for use by accountants across Government is 1 January, 2018.

 

Accounting Officers Instructions

 

198.    Accounting Officers are being required to review their Accounting Officers Instructions to their staff in line with the new Treasury Instructions, Public Finance Management Regulations and the Accounting Manual all drawing from the PFM Act.

 

Internal Audit Manual & Audit Committees

 

199.    An Internal Audit Manual has just been completed, and is meant to improve controls, enhance risk management, governance and promote ethical behaviour and guide Internal Auditors.

 

200.    Furthermore, the PFM Act requires all line Ministries to constitute Audit Committees, with such committees now established in most Ministries. 

 

201.    The few remaining Ministries are being required to establish their Audit Committees by end of December 2017.

 

Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability Assessment

 

202.    Government, working with the World Bank, has just completed a Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA) assessment that focuses on the strengths and weaknesses of the PFM.

 

203.    A PEFA assessment helps to achieve sustainable improvements in PFM practices by providing a means to measure and monitor performance against a set of indicators across the range of important public financial management institutions, systems and processes.

 

204.    The 2017 PEFA assessment report, jointly produced by the Government and the World Bank, is expected to be published during the first quarter of 2018.

 

Professionalisation of Public Accountants & Auditors

 

205.    Government is currently involved in a process of professionalising Public Accountants and Audit personnel to attain internationally recognised qualifications and certifications.

 

206.    The professionalisation project is funded by Department for International Development (DFID) who are working with the Institute of Chartered Accountants Zimbabwe and Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators in Zimbabwe.

 

207.    To date, over 30 professional accountants and auditors, whose training was funded by the Africa Development Bank, have attained various professional qualifications.

 

Modernisation of Government Telephone System

 

208.    The telephone system that is currently in place across Government has been in place for some time, such that the technology is not available to aid control costs.

 

209.    Hence, Government is working towards replacing its outdated telephone network with an internet based network that will help reduce operational costs by an estimated 30%.

 

Borrowing Procedures

 

210.    Under the ‘New Economic Order’, it is imperative that Government Ministries and Departments strictly follow borrowing procedures laid down in the Debt Management Act, in order to avoid committing the country to unsustainable and unproductive loans.

 

211.    In addition, all loan commitments and agreements will be required to go through the normal Government approval processes.

 

212.    Outside commitments will not be tolerated and constitute indiscipline attracting penal measures.

 

Payroll and Pension Administration

 

213.    Section 203 of the Constitution Amendment (No. 20), Act 2013 and Section 8 of the Public Service Act [16:04] outlines the functions of the Public Service Commission around the regulation of Conditions of Service of members of the Civil Service.

 

214.    Over and above fixing and regulating Conditions of Service, the Public Service Commission also administers the Payroll and Pensions, through the Salary Service Bureau (SSB) and the Pension Office, respectively.

 

215.    However, in most jurisdictions, Payroll and Pensions payment systems are part of the overall Government financial system, aTreasury responsibility, which is critical for fiscal management and prudence.

 

216.    Consistent with this, the administration of Payroll and Pensions becomes a direct Treasury responsibility, with effect from 1 January, 2018.

 

CHAPTER 6: SUPPORTIVE MEASURES

 

217.    The economy’s challenges are being compounded by the prevailing low foreign and domestic investor confidence, at a time when arrears on external debts continue to impact on foreign capital inflows into the economy.

 

218.    Budget measures to restore fiscal balance and enhance the developmental impact of budgets will require complementary measures that focus on stimulating production and exporting, underpinned by recognition of the reality that Zimbabwe competes for global capital flows with many other countries.

 

219.    In line with this, and consistent with the undertaking by His Excellency, President E. D. Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe is now open for business, and is putting in place supportive measures that seek to rebuild confidence and compete for investment, and enhance the economy’s competitiveness.

 

220.    These measures focus on the following areas:

 

·       Removal of policy uncertainty and inconsistency, guaranteeing safety of investments;

 

·       Amendment of the Indigenisation policy;

 

·       Lowering cost of doing business;

 

·       Re-engaging with the international community;

 

·       Security of land tenure, and introduction of bankable land leases;

 

·       Enhancing foreign exchange generation, including tapping into the diaspora;

 

·       Concrete, and time-framed public enterprises reforms; and

 

·       Dealing with corruption, rent-seeking, and other business malpractices.

 

Investment & Business Environment

 

221.    The investment drive under the ‘New Economic Order’ will be anchored by adoption of consistent and transparent policies that make our economy a conducive and competitive investment destination, cognisant of the need for the participation of foreign private investment in the domestic economy.

 

222.    Zimbabwe’s readiness to compete for investment, under the new economic dispensation, is underscored by assurances by His Excellency, the President, guaranteeing security of investments coming into the country.

 

223.    Policy consistency and credibility is also essential for mitigating against risk, underpinning investment and business planning.

 

Policy Consistency and Credibility

 

224.    Accordingly, nurturing investor confidence will also benefit from consistency and coherence of Zimbabwe’s business and investment landscape as insisted by His Excellency, the President.

 

225.    Therefore, strengthening of policy co-ordination and oversight will be undertaken with the leadership of the Office of the President and Cabinet.

 

226.    In this regard, previous omissions and commissions signalling policy reversals and conflicting policy pronouncements by different agencies of the same Government will no longer be allowed.

 

Investor Protection

 

227.    Consistent with best practices, institutional, legal and regulatory standards that affirm investor protection and undergird foreign direct investment are being adopted with the support of development partners.

 

228.    The benefits to local firms and suppliers include potential development of linkages and their incorporation into global value chains.

 

Indigenisation & Economic Empowerment Act

 

229.    Government is, through the Finance Bill, being submitted to this august House for the 2018 financial year, amending the Indigenisation and Empowerment Act, to bring the following into effect from April 2018:

 

Extractive Sector

 

230.    Diamonds and platinum are the only sub-sectors designated as‘extractive.’

 

231.    Accordingly, the proposed Amendments will confine the 51/49 Indigenisation threshold to only the two minerals, namely diamonds and platinum, in the extractive sector.

 

232.    The 51/49 threshold will not apply to the rest of the extractive sector, nor will it apply to the other sectors of the economy, which will be open to any investor regardless of nationality.

 

Reserved Sector

 

233.    The Reserved sector is only for Zimbabwean citizens, and for non-Zimbabweans, entry into the Reserved sector will only be by special dispensation granted by Government, if the proposed business:

 

·       Creates employment;

·       Affords the opportunity for the transfers of skills and technology for the benefit of  the people of Zimbabwe;

·       promotes the creation of sustainable value chains; and

·       Meets the prescribed socially and economically desirable objectives.

 

234.    As we seek to attract both local and foreign investments, existing and potential investors become fully guided by the Amendments we seek to effect through the Finance Bill that is being brought to this august House.

 

235.    Those already in the Reserved sector, except gold panning, will be required to register and comply with our laws.

 

Ease of Doing Business Reforms

 

236.    Zimbabwe’s ranking with regards to the ease of doing business remains unacceptably poor, with its ranking only moving from 161 out of 190 countries in 2016 to 159 in 2017.

 

237.    Government is, therefore, seized with the need to implement a much broader array of Ease of Doing Business Reforms.

 

238.    His Excellency, the President, has also pronounced himself over measures to address the ease and cost of doing business.

 

239.    Hence, the thrust of Government will be to make Ease of Doing Business reforms more practical and administratively accessible for actual day to day transaction processes to the ordinary Zimbabwean and foreigner intending to undertake business or investment.

 

240.    Achievements to date, however, include:

 

·              Reduction in the number of days for getting construction Permits, from 448 days to 120 days;

 

·              Reduction in the period for property registration, from the previous 36 days to 14 days, and decentralisation to Local Authorities; and

 

·              Investment in such enabling infrastructure as ICT, utilities, and roads rehabilitation.

 

241.    A number of Bills that seek to address some of the ease of doing business concerns that are before Parliament, will therefore, be fast tracked.

 

242.    These include:

 

·              Insolvency Bill;

·              Estate Administrators Bill;

·              Deeds Amendment Bill;

·              Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Bill;

·              Shop Licensing Amendment Bill; and

·              Public Sector Governance Bill.

 

Border Delays

 

243.    As part of measures to improve the doing business conditions, Government is expediting the establishment of a Ports Authority that will immediately address the challenges faced by businesses, with regards to red tape and delays at border posts.

 

244.    The creation of the Ports Authority is also critical as the country embarks on setting up Special Economic Zones which require efficient clearance of imported raw materials, machinery and equipment for their operations.

 

245.    Given that our borders are porous, and hence susceptible to leakages through entry of smuggled goods, a range of measures to address this are being instituted to mitigate impact on competitiveness of local industry.

 

Re-organisation of Vendors

 

246.    The current economic challenges, which have seen many rendered jobless, including a high number of graduates, is forcing many of the working population into vending to sustain livelihoods. 

 

247.    Government is, therefore, working in partnership with the respective vendor organisations and Local Authorities in the designation of vending sites, as well as ensure the provision of proper public amenities and sanitary facilities.

 

248.    This should ensure that all vendors are operating in the designated sites, that way, also overcoming recent disruptions to public movement and operations of formal businesses, which undermines their sustainability.

 

Business Cost Structures

 

249.    Over and above challenges businesses experience over the ease of doing business environment, businesses are also contend with a high domestic cost structure.

 

250.    In the SADC region, Zimbabwe’s business cost structures are ranked high, with some of the cost lines well in excess of 20% above regional comparatives.

 

251.    This is contributing to the lack of competitiveness of Zimbabwe’s exports in the region and beyond.

 

252.    The sources of Zimbabwe’s high costs of business are many, including but not limited to:

 

·              High utility tariffs, for power, water, municipal charges, etc;

 

·              Multiplicity of other fees and charges by such agencies as EMA, other Government departments, and Local Authorities; 

 

·              High wage structure, relative to productivity, when compared to such other countries as Ethiopia;

 

·              High interest rates and bank charges, given the US dollar environment and experiences of other countries during the global financial crisis; and

 

·              High transport costs, given heavy reliance on road haulage, in the absence of reliable cheaper railway transport.

 

253.    To enhance business competiveness, Government will unpack the underlying causes of the above costs, with a view to aligning them to regional standards.

 

One Stop Shop Investment Centre

 

254.    Other countries have successfully introduced one stop shops, wherein all foreign direct investments are approved under one roof, with the objective of expediting the processing time.

 

255.    In pursuit of this and in view of intense competition for foreign direct investment, implementing of a functional one stop shop is paramount.

 

256.    In line with technological developments, Zimbabwe’s One Stop Shop Investment Centre is also being required to take advantage of online services, that way removing the requirement for seconding staff by various Ministries and Departments, which has been delaying the operationalisation of this initiative.

 

Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements

 

257.    Zimbabwe, being a signatory to a number of international conventions on protection of property rights, reiterates its commitment to honouring obligations under various Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPAs).

 

258.    His Excellency, the President, has already made the commitment that all foreign investments will be safe in Zimbabwe.

 

Compensation for BIPPA Violations & Acquired Land

 

259.    Where violations of Zimbabwe’s obligations under BIPPAs have been made, including over land acquisition, Government will be engaging the respective parties to reach amicable settlement arrangements.

 

260.    Accordingly, Government will be making appropriate compensation in relation to land acquired under BIPPA arrangements.

 

261.    Furthermore, His Excellency, the President, has undertaken Government’s commitment to compensate all farmers from whom land was taken as part of the Land Reform Programme, in accordance with the country’s Constitution.

 

Local Content Policy

 

262.    Zimbabwe should create an environment for accelerated economic growth anchored on the agricultural, extractive and industrial sectors, while remaining competitive in international markets.

 

263.    This will ensure the rapid creation of employment, and the broadening and deepening of forward and backward linkages for the local procurement and supply of goods and services, leading to the development of new industries and increased capacity utilisation in existing industries, and resultantly spurring increased consumption of local goods and services, and a reduction in imports and increased exports.

 

264.    To achieve this, a local content policy framework is currently under preparation with the broad participation of Government, industry and consumers.

 

265.    The local content policy is expected to stimulate the use of local factors of production, such as labour, capital, supplies of goods and services, technology, and research and development, to create value in the domestic economy.

 

266.    In doing so, legislative, regulatory, institutional and reporting, monitoring and evaluation mechanisms will be established, while being cognisant of the internal systemic and political realities, as well as exogenous contextual factors, such as the cyclical behaviour of commodity prices, demand and supply dynamics and technological changes and world trade rules.

 

Promoting Domestic Goods

 

267.    Government, through the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Enterprise Development, is drafting a Local Content Requirements Framework to buttress the Import Management Programme.

 

268.    Promotion of locally produced goods should offer transitional stimulation and development of opportunities for domestic local industry value and supply chains, already beginning to benefit from investment into new production and product lines.

 

269.    Government is working on an incentive framework that strengthens the backward and forward linkages between manufacturing and other sectors, such as agriculture.

 

270.    These business linkages include contract farming for soya beans, cotton, and maize.

 

271.    The production of raw materials locally will help alleviate shortages of inputs being experienced industry wide, and also exerting pressure on the import bill.

 

Labour Market Flexibility

 

272.    Following submissions regarding the recent amendments to the Labour Act, Government, social partners and other relevant stakeholders are in the process of finalising holistic amendments to the Act.

 

273.    The proposed amendment of the Act seeks to strike a balance between creating a conducive environment for investment and protecting the fundamental rights of employees.

 

274.    In particular, the proposed amendments to the Act will relate to processes of termination of contract, retrenchments, and collective bargaining and provide for a more efficient and effective dispute settlement system.

 

Diaspora Participation

 

275.    Government appreciates and acknowledges the critical role that our diasporans play towards contributing to the economy’s foreign currency generation capacity, mainly in the form of remittances.

 

276.    The ‘New Economic Order’ undertakes to ensure that the diaspora plays an active role in the broader economy, particularly through investments in the domestic economy, as well as knowledge and technology transfer.

 

277.    This is consistent with the commitment by His Excellency, the President calling for the creation of conditions for an investment-led economic recovery that is underpinned by the active participation of our diaspora into the broad economic calculus.

 

278.    Government will, therefore, be strengthening platforms for engaging the Zimbabwean diaspora with a view to coming up with a policy framework that provides incentives and guaranteed security for diaspora investments.

 

Re-Engagement & International Cooperation

 

Political Relations

 

279.    Zimbabwe remains committed to the values of SADC, the African Union,the United Nations and other international fora where it retains membership, as well as all its bilateral cooperation obligations with various Nations, groupings and institutions.

 

280.    Under His Excellency President E.D Mnangagwa’s new dispensation, Zimbabwe sets out to strengthen its re-engagement and cooperation with the international community, central to quickly normalising political relations.

 

281.    This should also create a basis for re-establishing external relations and potential support for our agenda for development and socio-economic transformation.

 

282.    Central to enhancing cooperation is the commitment by His Excellency, the President, that Zimbabwe now fully embraces the culture of honouring all its obligations.

 

283.    His Excellency the President is, therefore, initiating moves to resuscitate the political re-engagement process with the international community, as well as all our bilateral partners.

 

Re-Engagement with International Financial Institutions

 

284.    Our quest towards a ‘New Economic Order’will also require complementary support from development partners, access to external borrowings, as well as resource inflows into the economy.

 

285.    Hence, pursuing the re-engagement process with international financial institutions, in particular the World Bank and the African Development Bank, and the European Investment Bank, will be enhanced in order to unlock external new financing required by productive sectors.

 

286.    The loss of long standing correspondent banking relationships, or “de-risking” by leading global banks was also beginning to pose significant risks to the country's efforts to finance international trade and access to foreign lines of credit.

 

287.    In this context, strengthening of re-engagement initiatives and processes with multi-lateral financial institutions and cooperating partners minimises the continuation of de-risking, reduce country risk and improve financial relations.

 

Corruption & Indiscipline

 

288.    Over the years, corruption had been threatening to spread unchecked, negatively affecting the social and moral fabric of the Nation.

 

289.    Corruption and market indiscipline also increase the cost of doing business, and encourage rent seeking behaviour, thereby increasing hardships for the general public.

 

290.    His Excellency, the President, in his Inauguration Speech, underscored that this syndrome will be decisively dealt with.

 

291.    In this regard, the cleansing has begun, targeting unlawful and illegitimate deals and transactions, money laundering practices, externalisation of foreign currency and under-ground foreign exchange transactions, among other corrupt conducts.

 

292.    Digitalisation of financial services needs to be speeded up,to make it difficult for people to engage in dishonest and corrupt practices.

 

293.    Further intensification of Government interventions to curb incidences of corruption, plug revenue leakages, as well as arrest market indiscipline will also buttress the successful implementation of the 2018 Budget.

 

Corrupt Practices

 

294.    Across all Government agencies, the quality of service offered will be required to become more facilitative and devoid of corrupt practices. This is moreso as Zimbabwe competes with its regional neighbours for investment, business and tourism.

 

295.    Appeals from stakeholders also make it necessary that such Government agencies as the Police, ZIMRA, EMA, VID, etc revisit their mandates and Service Charters to avoid “kusweravakamirapama roadblocks in large numbers” extorting money from the public.

 

296.    Public perceptions to the effect that “ukangowonaMupurisa, ZIMRA, EMA, VID etc wotoziva kuti mari yavekubuda” are not conducive to a country’s development.

 

Abuse of Authority to Retain Funds

 

297.    Treasury Authority has been granted to various agencies of Government to retain for their own utilisation, earnings, fees and fines that would ordinarily be surrendered to the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

 

298.    Regrettably, this dispensation is increasingly also being abused as agencies depart from their core mandates and focus on revenue raising, also with corrupt practices and extortionist tendencies permeating in.

 

299.    Consequently, over and above the transparency arrangements for retentions being ushered in by the 2018 Budget, Treasury will not hesitate to withdraw Retention Authority where the above practices are reported. 

 

Anonymous Tip-offs

 

300.    The Independent Complaints Mechanism established in terms of Section 210 of the Constitution deals with complaints arising out of the misconduct of a member of the security services.

 

301.    However, for the purposes of encouraging the coming forward of whistle-blowers who may possess vital information which could aid in combating corruption in the public sector, the 2018 Budget proposes that dedicated facilities or hotlines be established specifically for this purpose, with the necessary checks to protect the identity of members of the public.

 

Transparency & Openness

 

302.    State institutions charged with tackling corruption will be required to demonstrate a higher degree of transparencyin order to monitor the progress each respective institution is registering in combating corruption.

 

303.    As such, State institutions set up to combat corruption and crime, such as the National Prosecuting Authority, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission and the Zimbabwe Republic Police will be required to publish reports once every quarter giving statistics on the:

 

·       Number of arrests made;

·       Number of successful prosecutions or convictions; and

 

·       Value of money or property recovered, as a result of their interventions.

 

304.    Furthermore, demonstrable efforts to recover proceeds of criminal activities, through the institution of Civil process against the offenders, in terms of section 4 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act [Chapter 9:07], will be called for.

 

305.    Easy and ready access to information by the public will also enhance accountability of public institutions.

 

306.    Given the high correlation between the incidence of corruption and the extent of bureaucratic red tape, under the auspices of the Ease of Doing Business, needless regulations will continue to be eliminated, while safeguarding the essential regulatory functions of the State.

 

Public Entities Corporate Governance and Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Acts

 

307.    It is envisaged that the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act, which Act seeks to tighten, reorganize and improve our procurement system, will become effective 1 January 2018.

 

308.    This will dispense with the former dispensation which had inherent weaknesses that resulted in Government awarding tenders to undeserving companies and individuals, to the detriment of cost considerations and service delivery.

 

309.    In close association with this, it is intended that the Public Entities Corporate Governance Bill, which is currently before Parliament, be passed in the first quarter of 2018.

 

310.    This Bill seeks to professionalise the manner in which Public Entities carry out their day to day functions, as well as rationalise the remuneration payable to members and employees of such Public Entities.

 

311.    This will do away with unsustainable remunerations that Board members formally award themselves.

 

Lifestyle Audits

 

312.    The 2018 Budget proposes to regularise lifestyle audits of all Public Office Holders for the purposes of ensuring that the respective office holder’s lifestyle is commensurate with their level of income. 

 

313.    Where it is palpably manifest that their asset base is inconsistent with their level of income, it must be incumbent upon that officer to give an account of their sources of income justifying their wealth.

 

314.    Failure to provide an adequate explanation by the office holder would result in an investigation into their financial affairs, should this be necessary.

 

Auditor-General’s Reports

 

315.    The Auditor-General has consistently executed her mandate with neither fear nor favour and has consistently published findings unearthing the rot at a number of public institutions.

 

316.    Regrettably, little action has been taken to address identified institutional shortcomings, notwithstanding the red flags dutifully raised by the Auditor General.

 

317.    Consequently, the Public Finance Technical Response Unit was established under the Accountant General for the purposes of studying, following up and further looking into matters that are raised through the Auditor General’s reports for the purposes of recovering misappropriated wealth and institution of criminal proceedings, where necessary. 

 

Smart Technology

 

318.    Direct contacts between Government officials and citizens can open opportunity for illicit transactions.

 

319.    In this regard, there will be increased deployment of readily available technologies to encourage more arms-length relationships between public officials and the general public.

 

320.    The use of online platforms to facilitate interactions with the citizenry and the business community will be enhanced.

 

Foreign Exchange Generation & Management

 

Externalisation

 

321.    Government is granting a three months Amnesty, over the period 1 December 2017 to end of February 2018, to individuals and corporates for the return of illegally externalised funds and assets.

 

322.    Under this, those affected are encouraged to liaise with the Reserve Bank for the necessary facilitation and accounting for the externalised funds and assets.

 

323.    Government will, upon expiry of the moratorium, institute legal proceedings against those who would not have taken advantage of this dispensation, in line with the country’s laws.

 

Ease of Exporting

 

324.    Under the dollarised economic environment, exports remain a major source of liquidity for overall economic activity.

 

325.    It is necessary that exporters be supported through creation of a conducive and competitive exporting environment.

 

326.    This entails removing a number of impediments which compromise exporters’ competitiveness. These include a plethora of regulations, different and fragmented export documentation agencies, and long periods for document and permits processing and approvals.

 

327.    These interventions, among others, include reduction in the number of road blocks, creation of a similar one stop shop for the processing of export and import documentation, as well as reduction of documentation processing period.  

 

Special Economic Zones

 

328.    Notwithstanding the investment incentives that Government has already put in place, a critical factor to the attraction of investors to the designated Special Economic Zones, would be the development of the necessary basic infrastructure such as water, power, road, and rail transportation, amongst others.

 

329.    Already Treasury, has received requests for funding the development of such infrastructure at Sunway City and Victoria Falls amounting to US$16.7 million, and is considering submissions on the Diamond Cutting and Polishing Special Economic Zone in Mutare.

 

330.    Budget resources alone will, however, not be adequate to provide the full requirement for such infrastructure due to limited fiscal space.

 

331.    In this regard, Government is calling on all critical stakeholders, such as financial institutions, pension funds, institutional investors, as well as the private sector, to complement Government efforts in mobilising resources for the development of this essential infrastructure in the designated zones to enhance their attractiveness to potential investors.

 

332.    This would benefit from the on-going initiatives that are being done under the 100 Day Rapid Results Initiative, spearheaded by the Office of the President and Cabinet, in creating a conducive environment under the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ reforms.

 

333.    Consistent with the commitment by His Excellency, the President, to speedily operationalise Special Economic Zones, Government will, therefore, be engaging experts both local and international, with requisite expertise in the planning, design and implementation of Special Economic Zones.

 

334.    Already, Special Economic Zones have been identified with pilot projects, in Bulawayo, Sunway City in Harare and the Victoria Falls, as well as diamond cutting and polishing in Mutare.

 

335.    In addition, as well as to operationalise the SEZs, the Board has been constituted, however, on a part-time basis with modest remuneration allowances to avoid becoming an additional burden on the Budget.

 

Beneficiation and Value Addition

 

336.    The country is exporting mainly raw commodities, which yields low earnings, prone to international commodity price shocks and creates lower numbers of workers.

 

337.    In our quest for deriving more value from our mineral and agricultural resources, as well as addressing the perennial challenge of unemployment, Government is intensifying efforts on value addition and beneficiation of primary products.

 

Chrome Processing

 

338.    Interventions in the chrome sector have seen Government award over 19 000 hectares chrome mining special grants to small scale miners, benefitting throughput for smelting purposes.

 

339.    In response, ferrochrome ores and concentrates exports during the first nine months to September 2017 rose significantly.

 

340.    During January to September 2016, exports of ferrochrome ores and concentrates had realised US$73.3 million only.

 

341.    This year, however, recovery of production has seen exports grow to US$309 million from an export volume of 1.2 million tonnes.

 

342.    This growth momentum is expected to continue into 2018, with output projected at 1.7 million tonnes, up from the 1.5 million tonnes estimated for the full year 2017.

 

Diamond Cutting and Polishing

 

343.    To date, the country has licenced 10 diamond cutting and polishing centres to value add the locally produced diamonds. Currently, most of these registered companies are in the stage of building capacity in diamonds processing.

 

344.    The capacity building programme includes acquisition of state of the art equipment, which enhances efficiency by reducing weight loss, waste and production costs.

 

345.    In terms of skills development, the School of Diamond Cutting and Polishing, which was opened in 2011 at Mount Hampden, has so far trained over 1000 artisans in diamond sorting, valuation, cutting and polishing.

 

346.    The School has also automated the diamond cutting and polishing process, thereby, improving the skills on enhancing the diamond beneficiation process.

 

347.    However, while this capacity building process is ongoing, Aurex, a subsidiary of Reserve Bank, has already started beneficiating the country’s diamonds and now moved into manufacturing jewellery.

 

Foreign Currency Utilisation

 

348.    Foreign currency receipts for Zimbabwe, which averaged US$3.5 billion per annum over the years, 2016 and 2017, should anchor some of the country’s development requirements, if efficiently utilised in line with priorities.

 

349.    Government, on its part, will strive for transparency in the management of the foreign currency receipts, discouraging waste, leakages and abuse.

 

350.    Accordingly, the Reserve Bank will be strengthening its monitoring role to ensure efficient utilisation of the scarce foreign currency.

 

CHAPTER 7: SUPPORT FOR AGRICULTURE

 

Land Utilisation

 

351.    His Excellency, the President, in his inauguration speech, pointed out that under the ‘New Economic Order’, Government’s economic policy will also be anchored on agriculture.

 

352.    As such, beneficiaries of the Land Reform Programme are required to fully utilise the land and improve on productivity.

 

353.    Government is urgently addressing all issues related to land tenure in order to bring finality and closure to the management and ownership of land, critical for improved land utilisation.

 

Security of Tenure

 

354.    The prevalent form of formalisation of land distribution to beneficiaries across the A1 and A2 land tenure system was ‘Offer Letters’ issued by the Ministry responsible for Lands and Rural Resettlement.

 

355.    In order to address the security of tenure, especially with respect to the A2 model, Government introduced the 99 Year Lease, as a tool for formalising occupancy of re-distributed farms to beneficiaries who would have paid lease rentals, as well as for improvements.

 

356.    To give confidence to beneficiaries that their occupancy is guaranteed, and cannot be withdrawn willy-nilly, through the indiscipline of either youths, political leaders, traditional leaders or senior officials, Government is undertaking to institute measures to strengthen the legal standing of Offer Letters and 99 Year Leases.

 

357.    This enables the much needed farm investments, improved utilisation of land and, therefore, production.

 

Farm Valuations & Re-Surveys

 

358.    It has also been observed that the pace at which farm valuations are being undertaken is limited, resulting in very few issuances of the leases.

 

359.    It, therefore, follows that the proportion of 99 Year Lease issuances against the number of beneficiaries remains negligible, constraining financing by financial institutions and, in the process, perpetuating farm land as dead capital.

 

360.    Going forward, through the 2018 Budget onwards, Government will set aside resources for strengthening capacity of the Surveyor General’s Department to scale up conduct of farm surveys, instead of outsourcing, for rapid issuance of 99 Year Leases.

 

361.    Furthermore, re-surveys of farms should benefit from adoption of technology based Unmanned Aerial Vehicles which take much less time and costs.

 

Land Audits

 

362.    Having completed the Land Reform Programme, Government is moving to undertake periodic land audits through the Land Commission, established and operationalised in June 2016, with the mandate of ensuring accountability, fairness and transparency in the administration of agricultural land vested in the State.

 

363.    The necessary preparations for the land audits are now at an advanced stage.

 

364.    Through this process, issues of multi-farm ownership, idle land and under-utilisation of land are going to be identified.

 

365.    Idle land represents dead capital and promotes speculative tendencies, if not checked on the part of the land holders. As a result, the economy loses on optimal agricultural production.

 

366.    In this regard, appropriate remedial measures to address prevailing idle tracts of previously productive land, in order to improve agricultural production in the country, will be guided by results from the comprehensive land audits.

 

Forestry Estates and Conservancies

 

367.    To this day, incidences of land allocations, onto subdivided Forestry Estates and Conservancies, continue being experienced.

 

368.    In some cases, this has been perpetuated illegally and in a manner that negatively affects conservation practices and objectives, with respect to our forests and wildlife.

 

369.    It has been observed that in a number of cases, those resettled have quickly moved in to clear trees and substitute forestry and wildlife production with maize and other crop farming, often at sub-optimal productivity.

 

370.    Studies have already revealed a disturbing gap we now face in suitable wood raw materials a few years from now, due to disturbances that have been caused by unplanned resettlements over Forestry Estates across the country.

 

371.    In order to restore our forestry resources, Government is moving in to bring a stop to this and, where necessary, reversals of some indiscriminate resettlements over both Forestry and Conservancies will be undertaken.

 

Special Agriculture Production Programme

 

372.    The spearheading by Government of the Special Agriculture Production Programme popularly coined‘Command Agriculture’, in partnership with the private sector, followed completion of the land allocation phase of the Land Reform Programme.

 

Thrust

 

373.    The thrust is on full, efficient and sustainable utilisation of allocated land, for increased investment on the land and production.

 

Farmer Challenges

 

374.    On average, the new farmer had been encountering constraints which became a hindrance to full productive utilisation of the land, bordering around capacity, resources, and elements of insecurity over tenure.

 

375.    The result was much idle farmland, and unaccountability on the part of the farmer with regard to use of acquired land holdings for farming in support of domestic food security, supply of agro-inputs and exports.

 

Leadership

 

376.    The under-utilisation of land was guaranteed to continue unabated, in the absence of leadership and a champion to provide decisive intervention support, that way perpetuating food insecurity and over-dependency on imports.

 

377.    To untangle the potential for grid-lock and paralysis on farms, Government intervened with introduction of the Special Maize Production Programme, now broadened to embrace other crops and livestock, as a transitional inception intervention.

 

378.    Government recognises that, in the interim, the new farmer would need to be incubated as they learn the ropes and overcome learning-by-doing inefficiencies,  that entail yields lower than would obtain with best practices, making a case for transitional producer prices higher than import parity levels.

 

379.    In these circumstances, traditional private partners and bank funders of agriculture also become hesitant to develop fully supportive facilities for the new farmer, necessitating adoption of collaborative financing models by Government and the private sector. 

 

Farmer Obligations

 

380.    The individual farmer remains responsible and accountable for honouring repayment of obligations arising under such financing facilities.

 

Financing Model

 

381.    Government envisaged the impact of the financing model for the ‘Command Agriculture’, cognisant that this transitional intervention with short-term cost implications on the Budget would anchor improved agricultural production.

 

382.    As we move forward, private sector and commercial bank finance will be required to fully take up its rightful role of adequately underpinning agriculture, particularly, A2 commercial farmers.

 

383.    Accordingly, the 2018 Budget also supports interventions in agriculture. This will progressively and gradually scale down from 2019, leaving Government financial support targeted at needy vulnerable households.

 

Government Facilitation

 

384.    On the other hand, Government will continue with its facilitative role in the areas of extension services, disease and pest control, provision of bankable leases and security of tenure, development of irrigation, farm mechanisation and other infrastructure facilities.

 

Horticulture

 

385.    Government plans to coordinate extension of support towards expanded horticulture production from 2018, focusing on providing support towards identified farmers.

 

386.    Some of these farmers would be requiring rehabilitation and expansion of irrigation infrastructure, access to handling technologies, market access, financial services and capacity building.

 

387.    Participating farmers will largely be drawn from both the commercial and smallholder farming communities, with the programme anchored on commercial farmers with expertise in horticulture production.

 

388.    Smallholder farmers will, therefore, participate as out growers.

 

389.    This intervention will provide us with new opportunities to economically empower farmers, particularly smallholder ones, create employment opportunities, as well as earn foreign currency.

 

Monitoring of Agriculture Inputs

 

390.    Government has instituted measures to ensure effective delivery of the Command Agriculture programme, and accountability of inputs[7] utilised by farmers.

 

391.    These measures include among others, strengthening of the inputs control and distribution systems, as well as programme monitoring mechanisms, at every stage of the supply and distribution of inputs, that way assisting plug potential leakages of agriculture inputs.

 

392.    Reports of abuse and sale of inputs by some beneficiaries,under both Command and Presidential Agricultural Programmes, are being followed up with the support of Agritex officers, and the culprits will be quickly brought to book.

 

393.    Furthermore, the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement is validating expenditure commitments of Sakunda under the Programme, as well as values of inputs supplied and those collected by farmers. This is being undertaken with the support of the Accountant General and the Debt Management Office.

 

Electronic Management Systems

 

394.    Use of manual capture systems at district and provincial levels does not provide adequate monitoring of collection of inputs by farmers, hence, scope for double dipping by some farmers, with more than 20 hectares and above, who are required to collect inputs directly from input suppliers.

 

395.    Experiences of missing details of some farmers have been registered with reliance on manual capture systems for inputs disbursements.

 

396.    Hence, arrangements are underway to have all data relating to participating farmers captured in an electronic data collection system, which is expected to ride on the back of the PFMS system.

 

397.    In this regard, the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement is implementing the electronic data management system as a matter of urgency.

 

398.    To contain side marketing by farmers, from the 2017/18 season grain intake, the GMB is being required to decentralise cost recovery Stop Order forms to depot level, as well as consolidate data on participating farmers.

 

Control over Access to Supplies

 

399.    Absence of effective control and distribution mechanisms had meant that bogus farmers could access inputs through unscrupulous suppliers.

 

400.    This also results in abuse of fuel coupons, through issuance of fuel coupons that would not be commensurate to farmer requirements.

 

401.    Some of the potential risk areas have since been rectified which has seen the logistics committee, in consultation with private financing partners, tightening the distribution and collection mechanisms for both fuel and other inputs.

 

402.    All participating farmers are now required to have their contract papers and release orders for inputs collection to be processed at district level.

 

403.    For those farmers required to collect inputs directly from inputs suppliers, Government officials have been stationed at inputs suppliers’ depots to clear and monitor collection of inputs by farmers.

 

404.    Other potential leakages being plugged relate to:

 

·       Absence of validation processes over use of tillage vouchers and combine harvesters repairs; and

 

·       Collusion between district Command Centre officials and some farmers, that could result in inputs collections in excess of requirements determined by Agritex ward officers.

 

Stop Orders

 

405.    Some farmers who would have benefitted from Command Agriculture inputs supplies were being paid in full for grain delivered to GMB despite having loan obligations under the Programme.

 

406.    Government has, thus, moved in to plug potential leakages that could arise. In this regard, participating farmers are also required to complete the cost recovery Stop Order forms at the point of inputs collection.

 

407.    Furthermore, plugging of potential leakages is extended to prevent some Ward extension officers recommending farmers without farm/land offer letter to collect inputs, resulting in no recoveries.

 

Validation & Monitoring

 

408.    Other potential areas of leakages being plugged at supply level includerequirements for:

 

·       Enforcement of validation processes over quantities of inputs delivered against quantities of inputs contracted;

 

·       Tighter monitoring mechanisms relating to delivery of inputs to GMB depots by suppliers such that current expenditure commitments are based on Command Centre reports on inputs collected by farmers;

 

·       Procurement authorisations over such inputs as chemicals for the control of Fall Armyworm and Quelea birds within the Financial Agreements; and

 

·       Strengthened Government oversight over input prices negotiations prior to procurement.

 

Capacitation of Agritex & Command Centres

 

409.    Command Agriculture programme monitoring will be strengthened through the capacitation of Agritex officers and Command Centre Officers at district and provincial level to enable them to undertake routine monitoring of the programme at every stage of the crop production cycle.

 

410.    In addition, National Task Force monitoring teams will be required to monitor and evaluate the programme on a quarterly basis.

 

411.    Treasury undertakes to support the monitoring exercise at every stage of the cycle.

 

Loan Recoveries from Farmers

 

412.    A positive culture of honouring loan obligations is emerging among farmers benefitting from empowerment support under the Command Agriculture Programme.

 

Recoveries from Maize Farmers

 

413.    In this regard, Command Agriculture loan recoveries are running at 66%, with the Command Agriculture Revolving Fund registering repayment receipts of US$47.4 million in loan recoveries from farmers. This is against an anticipated repayment target of US$72 million.

 

414.    Out of the 50 000 farmers contracted to produce maize under Command Agriculture, 33% fully paid their loan obligations, with 22% having partially paid their obligations, while recoveries from others are being made as they deliver to GMB. 

 

415.    To encourage our farmers to continue paying back their debt obligations, all fully paid farmers are being prioritised in accessing inputs under the 2017/18 Command Agriculture programme. 

 

416.    With regards to those farmers who have partially paid, as well as the new farmers, consideration to be contracted is based on a tight criteria, which includes, among others, the need for a farmer to demonstrate capability to produce.

 

417.    However, as at 23 November 2017, about 10 053 contracted farmers had not made any maize deliveries to GMB, an indication that these were already defaulting on their 2017 debt obligations.

 

418.    Government has, therefore, instituted measures to ensure recoveries from these farmers, with monitoring teams already deployed to follow up on such farmers who are being made to acknowledge their debts for repayment next season.

 

Recoveries from Wheat Farmers

 

419.    Loan recoveries from wheat farmers are already underway, with recoveries standing at US$3.6 million, against a target of US$8.8 million, as at 23 November 2017.

 

420.    Further recoveries are being experienced as farmers harvest and deliver their wheat produce to the GMB.

 

Anchor Companies

 

421.    Agricultural production enhancement will benefit from cooperation between anchor and new companies.

 

422.    This linkage in the sector facilitates access to capital and markets, sharing of best practices, farming knowledge and transfer of expertise, mutually beneficial to both parties.

 

423.    More specifically, the identified anchor companies have the critical roles of providing access to capital, training the small scale farmers and coordinating marketing, including exporting.

 

424.    As proposed in the past, Government will consider putting in place appropriate incentives in support of these arrangements.

 

Farm Rental & Development Levies

 

425.    In an effort to ensure efficiency in the collection and compliance of farm rentals and land development levies, the 2018 Budget proposes to re-assign local authorities as the collecting agent for land fees.

 

426.    The funds derived from rental levies will be for use by the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement, while local authorities will utilise funds raised from the Development Levy.


 

CHAPTER 8:   FISCAL PERFORMANCE

 

427.    The economic growth in 2017 also had a positive impact on the performance of Budget revenues.

 

428.    Tax revenue collections by ZIMRA have, therefore, been running at levels above 2017 Budget targets, with total receipts to November 9% higher than envisaged.

 

Revenue Performance

 

429.    Cumulative tax and non-tax revenue collections for the period January to September 2017 amounted to US$2.812 billion, against a target of US$2.741 billion, resulting in a positive performance of US$70.8 million or 2.6% of projected revenues. 

 

430.    This tax and non-tax revenue performance represents an increase of 8.6% on prior year collections of US$2.599 billion.

 

431.    The Table below shows the cumulative revenue performance for the period January to September 2017.

Revenue Performance: Jan-Sept 2017

 

Actual

(US$m)

Target

(US$m)

Variance

(US$m)

Variance

(%)

Total Revenue

2 812.0

2 741.2

70.8

2.6

Tax Revenue

2 643.9

2 519.7

124.2

4.9

Non-tax Revenue

168.1

221.6

(53.4)

(24.1)

 

432.    Notably, Tax Revenue recorded a positive variance of 4.9%, whilst Non-tax Revenue underperformed by 24.1%.

 

433.    Preliminary receipts for November 2017 indicate tax collections of US$335.4 million, against a target of US$269.8 million, reflecting a positive performance of US$65.5 million, or 24% of projected revenue.

 

434.    This would raise cumulative tax collections for the eleven months to November 2017 to US$3.325 billion, against a target of US$3.057 billion.

 

Administrative Measures

 

435.    Tax administrative measures instituted in the recent past are also facilitating improved revenue collection in 2017.

 

436.    These included:

 

Automation

 

437.    This entailed full automation of the VAT system, through the usage of fiscalised devices, and other ICT based innovative solutions.

 

Tax Base

 

438.    The coverage of the tax system was widened to include unregistered businesses, particularly small to medium enterprises that continue to operate in the informal sector.

 

Border Efficiencies

 

439.    Initiatives to enhance administrative efficiencies at Border Posts included securing unofficial points of entry.

 

Electronic Cargo Tracking

 

440.    Curtailing of transit fraud is benefitting from the use of the Electronic Cargo Tracking System and alignment of excise duty on paraffin and diesel.

 

Single Window Facility

 

441.    Implementation of the Electronic Single Window Facilityat ports of entry, should assist minimise congestion, thereby reducing opportunities for fraud.

 

Temporary Import Permits

 

442.    To minimise abuse, the maximum period under which Temporary Import Permits for motor vehicles imported by visitors are valid was reduced from twelve to three months.

 

Authorised Economic Operators

 

443.    The Authorised Economic Operator system, which facilitates simple customs clearance procedures and less stringent physical examinations, was introduced, thereby enhancing clearance of commercial goods.

 

Advance Passenger & Cargo Manifest

 

444.    The system of Advance Passenger and Cargo Manifest was extended to road and rail transport carriers, in order to reduce clearance time, and also minimise incidences of under or non-declaration of goods.

 

Operating Hours

 

445.    In order to enhance flow of commercial traffic, ZIMRA operating hours at Kazungula Border Post were extended from 17:00 hours to 20:00 hours, consistent with operating times on the Botswana side.

 

Whistle Blower & Life Style Audits

 

446.    The Budget thrust to fight incidences of corruption should benefit from instituting of investigations on whistle blower information, and life style audits on ZIMRA personnel.

 

Revenue Heads’ Contribution

 

447.    As a proportion of total revenue, tax revenue accounted for 94%, while non-tax revenue contributed 6%, in line with prior year trends.

 

Performance of Revenue Heads, Jan-Sept 2017

Source: Ministry of Finance & Economic Development

 

448.    The major contributors to revenue collections were VAT, at 28.6%, followed by Personal Income Tax and Excise Duty at 19.2% and 18.2%, respectively.

 

449.    Corporate Income Tax accounted for 11.6% of revenue contributions over the nine months to September 2017, while Customs Duty raised 7.9%. 

 

450.    Non-tax revenue, which, contributed 6% to total revenue, continued to under-perform. 

 

451.    The Chart below summarises the contribution of individual revenue heads to total revenue.

 

 

 

Revenue Contributions: Jan-Sept 2017

Source: Ministry of Finance & Economic Development

 

452.    The positive performance of revenues to September 2017 necessitates a review of the 2017 Budget Estimate, from US$3.7 billion to US$3.850 billion in the outlook period to December 2017.

 

453.    This would also represent an 11.4% increase from 2016 collections of US$3.502 billion.

 

454.    Tax and Non-tax revenue are expected to contribute US$3.630 billion and US$220 million, respectively, to the projected revised revenue outturn to December 2017.

 

Non-Tax Revenue

 

455.    Non-tax revenue, which amounted to $168.1 million for the period January to September, against a target of $221.6 million, is comprised of revenue collected by ministries and departments from fees, fines, rentals, interest, dividends, Government sales, business licences and pension contributions, among others.

 

456.    The 24.1% under-performance of Non-tax revenue represents a negative variance of $53.5 million.

 

457.    The non-performance of this revenue head is mainly due to partial remittance of pension contributions, non-payment of anticipated telecoms licence fees by Telecel and Net One, that were due on 30June 2017, and lower than anticipated dividends from parastatals.

 

458.    The Table below shows the performance of selected Non-tax revenue sub-heads over the period January to September 2017.

Non-tax Revenue

Sub Head

Actual

Target

Variance

%Variance

Government Property Rent, Interest and Dividends etc.

8 755 865

39 975 000

(31 219 134)

(78.1%)

Of which Dividends

0

30,000,000

(30,000,000)

(100)

Pension Contribution

83 543 177

103 977 000

(20 433 822)

(19.7%)

Fees

61 149 167

70 518 000

(9 368 832)

(13.3%)

Of which Telecoms

0

7 500 000

7 500 000

(100)

Other

14 694 556

7 092 000

7 602 556

107.2%

TOTAL

168 142 767

221 562 000

(53 419 232)

(24.1%)

Source: Ministry of Finance & Economic Development

 

 

Development Partners Support

 

459.    During the period January to September 2017, a total of US$491 million was disbursed by development partners.

 

460.    Of this amount, bilateral partners provided US$364.4 million, with the balance of US$126.5 million coming from multilateral partners.

 

461.    Programmes and projects benefiting from development partnerssupport during 2017 are as shown below.

 

Sectoral Disbursements (US$)

Sector

2017

Disbursements

Agriculture

37 921 387

Transport

6 547 381

Power/Energy

500 000

Water Supply & Sanitation

20 050 249

Health

278 927 468

Education

17 878 239

Humanitarian Interventions

70 624 579

Governance

22 939 757

Multi-Sector/Cross Cutting

3 301 137

Capacity Building

23 879 262

Other Basic Social Services

8 420 760

Total

490 992 220

Source: Ministry of Finance & Economic Development

 

Expenditure Performance

 

462.    Notwithstanding the gains we are making with regards to improved revenue collections, continued significant mis-matches between revenue collections and expenditure obligations call for urgent fiscal consolidation.  

 

463.    On the other hand, Budget expenditures over the same period amounted to US$4.65 billion, against planned expenditures of US$3.1 billion. 

 

464.    Resultantly, expenditure overruns of US$1.55 billion were realised during the first nine months of 2017, much higher than the US$70.8 million revenue collections over-performance.

 

Expenditure: Jan – Sept 2017

 

Actual

(US$ mil)

Target

(US$ mil)

Variance

(US$ mil)

Total Expenditure

4 653.0

3 101.1

(1 551.9)

Employment Costs

2 567.1

2 263.3

(303.8)

Operations and Maintenance

543

295.5

(247.0)

Interest

150.1

133.5

(16.6)

Capital

1 392.7

408.8

(983)

 

465.    The expenditure overrun of US$1.55 billion is accounted for by the following developments that imposed a financing obligation on the 2017 Budget.

 

Employment Costs

 

466.    Expenditure outlay on employment costs for January to September 2017 amounted to US$2.57 billion, against a target of US$2.26 billion, resulting in an overrun of US$304 million.

 

 

Actual

(US$ mil)

Target

(US$ mil)

Variance

(US$ mil)

Total Employment Costs

2 567.1

2 263.3

(303.8)

Civil Service

1 589.4

1 452.6

(136.8)

Grant Aided Institutions

359.5

335.1

(24.4)

Pension

358.2

358.2

0

PSMAS

67.1

90.9

23.8

NSSA

192.5

26.1

(166.4)

Funeral Expenses

0.4

0.4

0

 

467.    The payment of an unbudgeted 2016, 13th cheque award of US$171.3 million,staggered over the period April to August 2017, accounts for the excess expenditures of US$136.8 million and US$24.4 million related to the wage bills for the Public Service and Grant Aided Institutions, respectively.

 

468.    The Grant Aided Institutions wage bill outturn of US$359.5 million is inclusive of US$152.8 million relating to remuneration for around 8 890 staff at the State Universities.

 

469.    Over the period September 2013 to December 2016, the Budget had accumulated US$180.9 million payment arrears related to Government’s employer contributions to the National Social Security Authority.

 

470.    Accordingly, the 2017 Budget embraced this outstanding Statutory obligation, through issuance of Treasury bills amounting to US$180.9 million, thus resulting in the expenditure overrun.

 

Operations and Maintenance

 

471.    The 2017 Budget incurred expenditures amounting to US$543 million over the nine months to September, against planned expenditures of US$295.5 million, exceeding the Budget target by US$247.6 million.

 

Legacy Debt

 

472.    The continued weak state of our public finances has progressively undermined the Budget’s capacity to settle bills for services rendered to line ministries and departments by both private and public institutions.

 

473.    Consequently, line ministries have, over the years, been accumulating domestic payment arrears.

 

474.    In this regard, reduction of domestic payments arrears of US$224.5 million, through issuance of Treasury bills was made to several targeted private and public institutions, as part of a broader strategy to resuscitate public institutions and promote economic growth.

 

·          ZESA, US$137.6 million;

·          ZINWA, US$49.4 million;

·          NetOne, US$11.5 million; and

·          Natpharm, US$26 million.

 

475.    In addition, Government issued Treasury bills worthUS$60 million to finance critical Government programmes and projects during the course of the year.

 

Recapitalisation of Public Institutions

 

476.    Government also had to intervene in the recapitalisation of Hwange Colliery Company Limited and CAPS Holdings in order to enhance their operational capacity.

 

477.    Resultantly, the 2017 Budget embraced additional expenditures of US$58.3 million and US$6.8 million, respectively, which were backed by issuance of Treasury bills.

 

Voter Registration

 

478.    In line with Section 155(1) of the Constitution and Section 38 of the Electoral Act, a General Election will be held in 2018.

 

479.    In preparation, US$13.7 million was incurred by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission towards theprocurement of Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) kits, field equipment, vehicles, computer software and hardware, as well as training and deployment of voter registration personnel.

 

480.    In addition, expenditures worth US$5.4 million were incurred towards the issuance of birth certificates and national identity documents by the Registrar General’s Department, in preparation for the Biometric Voter Registration Exercise. 

 

Capital Expenditures

 

481.    Cumulative Capital expenditures to September 2017 amounted to US$1 392.7 million, against a target of US$408.8 million, resulting in over expenditure of US$983.9 million.

 

482.    Overall expenditures towards the agricultural sector of US$1 027.9 million, accounted for the bulk of the capital expenditures.

 

483.    Expenditures related to procurement for the Strategic Grain Reserve amounted to US$552.2 million, comprising of grain procurement, US$540 million, rehabilitation of GMB Silos, US$5.2 million, and setting up of grain collection depot points, US$7 million. 

 

484.    Crop input support facilities, comprising of the Command Maize Programme and the Presidential Input Support Programme, accounted for US$347.5 million and US$113.6 million, respectively, whilst US$3.9 million was channelled towards rehabilitation and construction of communal irrigation schemes.

 

485.    Resources towards infrastructure development, at US$156.9 million, were minimal, resulting in a number of planned on-going projects failing to progress as envisaged.

 

486.    Capital expenditures channelled towards the transport sector amounted  to US$28.3 million, targeting funding for the:

 

·       Emergency Roads Rehabilitation Programme, US$16.8 million;

 

·       Dualisation of the Harare-Mutare road section, between Goromonzi turnoff and Jamaica Inn Toll Plaza, and the Harare-Bulawayo road section, between Norton Service Centre and Norton Toll Plaza, US$5.5 million; and

 

·       Construction of outstanding sections on the Bindura-Shamva road, and upgrading of a 3.5km section on the Mvurwi-Kanyemba road, as well as the Kanyemba Pontoon, US$5 million.

 

487.    Expenditures of US$68.4 million were incurred on water and sanitation projects, mainly for the ongoing dam construction projects at:

 

·             Causeway dam, US$8.8 million, which allowed completion of outlet excavations and the two saddle dams, as well as spillway and dam foundations, now at 90% and 60%, respectively;

 

·             Gwayi-Shangani dam,US$27.2 million, enabling completion of excavations of the riverbed as well as pouring of concrete for the same, with the contractor now working on the dam wall up to the river bed; and

 

·             Marovanyati dam, US$7.2 million, allowing completion of main dam foundations excavations, and progress on spillway and outlet works.

 

488.    In addition, US$14.1 million was channelled towards liquidation of outstanding certificates for the Mtshabezi pipeline and Semwa dam.

 

489.    The Beitbridge water supply project, and preparatory works for the Kunzvi Water Project, incurred expenditures of US$1.5 million and US$1 million, respectively.

 

490.    With regards to institutional housing projects, an amount of US$43.5 million was spent, of which US$30 million was availed to the Urban Development Corporation as capitalisation, to enable the parastatal to undertake housing development projects across the country.

 

491.    Other projects that were supported included:

 

·       Completion of two flats at the ZRP Tomlison Depot, US$3 million;

 

·       CID headquarters, US$0.8 million;

 

·       Upgrading of ZIMRA facilities and ICT systems at border posts, US$3.3 million; and

 

·       Rehabilitation works at State Residences, US$2.1 million.

 

492.    Funding to the tune of US$5.2 million was channelled towards the ICT sector, with ZIMRA automation accounting for US$2.3 million, whilst US$2.6 million was spent on e-Government flagship projects.

 

493.    Social sector infrastructure accounted for US$5.4 million, with expenditure on health institutions amounting to US$1.2 million, mainly towards rehabilitation of facilities.

 

494.    Expenditure on education infrastructure of US$4.2 million was mainly for construction works at institutions of higher learning, as well as schools infrastructure.

 

495.    Government also availed resources amounting to US$164.5 million towards capitalisation of strategic institutions, as indicated in the Table below:

 

INSTITUTION

AMOUNT US$ (million)

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe

29.4

Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company

40.6

Caps Holdings

16.0

COTTCO

51.8

Deposit Protection Corporation

10.0

Air Zimbabwe

4.2

Women Micro-Finance Bank

10.0

Youth Empower Bank

2.5

TOTAL

164.5

 

Constituency Development Funds

 

496.    The 2017 Budget had a provision of US$10 million for the Constituency Development Fund. However disbursements had been held up by the finalisation of requirements precedent to disbursements.

 

497.    While Treasury has set aside the requisite resources, Parliament is now establishing the necessary disbursement and accounting mechanisms.

 

Financing

 

498.    In the absence of access to external development finance, the 2017 Budget borrowing requirements have mainly been funded from the domestic market, through issuance of Treasury bills and recourse to the Reserve Bank overdraft.

 

499.    During the period January to September 2017, Treasury issued Government instruments worth US$1.75 billion in the form of both Treasury bills and bonds.

 

Treasury Bill Issuances

Purpose

Amount (US$ m)

Budget Financing

386.45

Government Debt

1 070.82

Capitalisation (Agribank, IDBZ,SMEDCO)

61.06

RBZ Debt

103.73

ZAMCO

130.04

Total

1 752.08

Source: Ministry of Finance & Economic Development, Reserve Bank

 

500.    Of the $1.75 billion Treasury bills issued to September 2017, US$386.45 million financed Government programmes, whilst US$1.07 billion was channelled towards servicing legacy debts.

 

501.    Budget deficit financing through direct borrowing from the Reserve Bank amounted to US$393.4 million.

 

502.    The increasing mismatch between Revenues and Expenditures will necessitate further borrowing of US$940million during the last quarter of 2017.

 

Risks Arising from Over-Issuance of Treasury Bills

 

503.    The current trend and manner of issuance of Treasury bills is unsustainable, and has not only led to mounting interest payment obligations, but now also poses significant risk of resurgence of macro-economic instability.

 

504.    The level of Treasury bills has created a situation whereby, there is a disparity between high levels of virtual money against available United States dollars and bond notes.

 

505.    The scarcity is translating into exchange premiums that stoke the rising prices of goods and services.

 

506.    This has been worsened by cases where some market players have ended up discounting Treasury bills and directing proceeds towards buying the scarce foreign currency, without directly promoting production and exports.

 

507.    The situation is exacerbated by vendors, unable to sell such items as vehicles in the market, offering Government to take up unsold wares in exchange for Treasury bills, which they immediately discount in the market in search of foreign exchange.

 

508.    Of recent concern is the tendency by quasi-Government institutions, local authorities and parastatals to also turn to Government for bail-outs through Treasury bill issuances, negating their obligation of making the necessary follow ups to recover amounts owed by debtors.

 

509.    All this necessitates that Treasury tightens on consideration of new requests for Treasury bill funding as this has proved to be one source of pressure for foreign currency and Nostro bank balances.

 

 


 

CHAPTER 9:   FISCAL OUTLOOK

 

Prospects for Revenues

 

Overall Revenue

 

510.    In line with the envisaged growth in the economy, total revenue[8] collections in support of Government operations, programmes and projects, excluding Statutory Funds,are estimated at US$5.071 billion for the coming 2018 fiscal year.

 

511.    This is the level of revenue resources available for Appropriation by Parliament under the 2018 Budget.

 

512.    Tax revenue collections continue to underpin anticipated Revenues for the coming fiscal year, and are estimated to account for US$4.3 billion of Revenue inflows.

 

513.    Non-tax revenue for 2018 are estimated at US$237 million, and hence, also remain a critical component complementing tax revenue.

 

514.    In this regard, taking account of Statutory Funds,which are not available or Appropriation, will result in overall revenues for the public sector in 2018 of US$5.533 billion.

 

Retention Funds

 

515.    Revenue prospects for 2018 indicate that Government programmes and projects will also benefit from the mobilisation of resources through non-tax collections related to Retention Funds by various Government ministries and departments.

 

516.    Retention Funds are established in line with Section 18 of the Public Finance Management Act with the objective of incentivising and empowering line ministries and departments to enhance non-tax revenue collection to supplement their Budget allocations. 

 

517.    While the Retention Funds have contributed significantly towards complementing Budget resources, the accountability arrangements for the resources exhibited fundamental weaknesses which undermined the efficient application of the Funds’ resources towards Government priority areas as enshrined in the Constitution.

 

518.    From 2018 Budget, the approved income and expenditure of each Fund will be managed through the Public Finance Management System, currently in use across Government and will be ring-fenced to defray expenditures consistent with the objectives of each Fund, as well as allow for easier consolidation with other Government Financial Statements.

 

519.    The Fund resources will be subjected to the same scrutiny with respect to prioritisation as other Voted expenditures, and integrated into the Budget Estimates approved by Parliament through the Appropriation Act.

 

520.    During the 2018 fiscal year, collections from Retention Funds across all ministries are estimated at US$434 million.

 

521.    In line with the new framework and to facilitate effective monitoring, the disbursement of the above resources will be linked to individual Funds’ revenue performance, which is conditional on submission to the Treasury of satisfactory monthly and quarterly Receipts and Expenditure Statements.

 

Statutory Funds

 

522.    Statutory Funds are established through specific Acts of Parliament in line with Section 302 of the Constitution.

 

523.    The Public Finance Management Amendment Act, therefore, empowers respective Accounting Officers to ensure that appropriate systems are in place to ensure effective utilisation of Statutory Fund resources in line with each such Fund’s core mandate.

 

524.    For the 2018 fiscal year, an amount of US$462 million will be mobilised through Statutory Funds as follows:

 

·             Zimbabwe National Roads Authority, US$300 million, accounting for 60.7%;

·             Rural Electrification Fund, US$47 million;

·             Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund, US$39 million;

·             Aids Levy, US$37 million;

·             Universal Services Fund, US$14.8 million; as well as

·             Environment Fund, US$14.5 million, amongst others.

 

525.    Consistent with the need for enhancing transparency and accountability over public resources, estimates of both revenue and expenditure of Statutory Funds is incorporated into the 2018 Budget Estimates for information and appreciation by stakeholders, and the anticipated flow of resources is reflected under the Revenue estimates.

 

Supportive Measures

 

526.    The growth in revenues is anchored on measures aimed at raising revenue, enhancing administrative efficiency and providing support to industry through various tax concessions which reduce the cost of doing business, thereby growing the taxbase.

 

527.    Smuggling and under-invoicing, of both exports and imports, remains a huge challenge for tax administration.

 

528.    Increased focus on initiatives to plug leakages at ports of entry, securing unofficial points of entry, and curbing incidences of corruption, will benefit collections of customs duty and also spur growth in corporate income tax collections.

 

Development Partner Support

 

529.    Inflows of development partner support, complementary to Budget efforts in the implementation of Government programmes and projects, have, over the years, been constrained by continued souring of relations.

 

530.    Hence, the thrust of the 2018 Budget is also to ensure the economy benefits from re-engagement processes to normalise political and development cooperation.

 

531.    Normalisation of relations will also extend to embrace strengthening of cooperation with the international financial community, central of which is the arrear clearance process with the World Bank, and the African Development Bank.

 

532.    Already, tentative consultations with cooperating partners indicate scope for scaling up of support to complement Budget efforts in the implementation of Government programmes and projects from 2018.

 

533.    Strengthening of cooperating partner support would also be supportive of the policy thrust for the 2018 Budget to re-orient the Budget away from consumptive recurrent expenditures towards development projects.

 

534.    In the interim, cooperating partner support of only US$100 million is programmed towards Zim Asset programmes and projects, including social protection interventions.

 

535.    To improve implementation, Government will continue to work with development partners to overcome challenges impacting rapid results initiatives, and implementation of supportedprogrammes, such as Harmonised Cash and electronic-transfer-based payments. 

 

536.    As relations with cooperating partners improve, Government recognises the need for addressing potential delays to implementation of co-partnered projects, including facilitation of external payments for the importation of equipment, payment of works and services rendered by external contractors.

 

537.    Furthermore, in line with capacity, Government will upscale its contributions in programmes and projects co-financed with development partners.

 

538.    As part of normalising relations, the 2018 Budget will also have provisions towards further compensation for land acquired under the land reform programme.

 

539.    The 2018 Budget will also contain administrative measures to improve administration of taxexemptionfor development partners funded projects.

 

Expenditure Framework& Deficit

 

540.    The above fiscal outlook for Revenues for the 2018 fiscal year, coupled with the Budget thrust towards a sustainable budget deficit, limit the Expenditure framework to US$5.743 billion, inclusive of Retention Funds.

 

541.    Current expenditures are proposed to account for US$4.5 billion, while capital expenditures will amount to US$1.2 billion.

 

542.    The Budget deficit for 2018, given total revenues available for Appropriation by Parliament of US$5.071 billion, and total expenditure and net lending of US$5.743 billion, translate to a fiscal deficit of US$672 million.

 

543.    This proposed Budget deficit for 2018 is against a projected deficit outturn to December 2017, of US$1.707 billion.

 

CHPATER 10:     BUDGET ALLOCATIONS

 

544.    The 2018 National Budget will have to contend with provisions for the Wage bill, 2018 Harmonised Elections and expanded agricultural programmes, among others. 

 

545.    The Budget will also need to continue availing support towards the ongoing Emergency Roads Rehabilitation Programme across the Nation and other infrastructure projects under the Zim Asset.

 

546.    Furthermore, the 2018 National Budget will also prioritise quick win projects and programmes contained in the Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy (I-PRSP) relating to social services and poverty reduction initiatives.

 

Employment Costs

 

547.    The 2018 Budget is appropriating US$3.3 billion for Employment Costs, with US$2.6 billion being set aside for the Public Service wage bill, inclusive of Grant Aided Institutions.

 

548.    In support of the provision of educational services at the basic (primary and secondary) and tertiary levels, the 2018 Budget is appropriating US$1.1 billion towards the salaries and allowances for around 136 000 teaching and non-teaching staff in this sector, accounting for 42.3% of the Public Service wage bill provision.

 

549.    The pie chart below summarises the distribution of the Public Sector Wage bill by sector.

 

 

550.    An amount of US$297.4 million or 11% of the Public Service wage bill provision, has been appropriated for the remuneration of around 37 300 public health care personnel, inclusive of those at the non-profit and church affiliated health facilities, as well as local authority owned rural health facilities.

 

551.    For the maintenance of law and order, as well as the security of the Nation, the Budget is appropriating US$548.1 million for the remuneration of uniformed forces, accounting for 21% of the wage bill provision.

 

552.    To support the provision of agricultural extension services, the 2018 Budget is appropriating US$79.6 million mainly towards the remuneration of around 8 000 extension workers.

 

13th Cheque

 

553.    A provision of US$176 million has been set aside for the payment of the 2017 13th Cheque awards.

 

554.    Treasury will, therefore, honour the commitment already made to pay the 2017 13th Cheque, but in a staggered manner.

 

555.    The programming of the above commitment during the first half of 2018 will be guided by revenue inflows, taking account of cash flow requirements of other national programmes, such as the General Elections.

 

General Elections

 

556.    The 2018 Budget will provide resources amounting to US$132.2 million in support of the 2018 Harmonised Elections budget.

 

557.    This is over and above resources provided for Voter Registration under the 2017 Budget.

 

Agriculture Season Preparations

 

558.    Adequate preparations are key for a successful agricultural season. Accordingly, and in collaboration with the private sector, Government support will see the 2018 Budget allocate 9% of the total Budget to agriculture, up from 7% in 2017.

 

559.    Building on the success and lessons from the first phase of the special maize and wheat programmes, Government has already mobilised the resources for the second phase of the programme to the tune of US$266.4 million for maize and soya beans production.

 

Maize

 

560.    Under the ‘Maize Command Programme’, the target is to plant an area of 220 000 hectares under maize, with 60 000 under irrigation, while the remainder will be dry farming.

 

561.    This is expected to cost US$213.5 million, broken down as US$59.8 million for irrigated farming, and US$153.7 million for dry land.

 

562.    As at 1 December 2017, over 46 404 farmers had been contracted to plant 219 000 hectares, with 52 330 hectares under irrigation and the remainder under dry land.

 

563.    The following inputs had been delivered to farmers:

 

Farming Inputs

Item

Quantity Delivered

(tons)

Seed

4 109

Basal Fertilizer

29 489

Top Dressing

1 229

Lime

8 640

Fuel (ltrs)

2 541 500

Source: Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development

 

564.    It is important to point out that the sustainability of this noble programme depends on beneficiary farmers honouring their obligations. Extension workers are, therefore, being required to highlight this key aspect in interactions with farmers.

 

Soya Beans

 

565.    In view of the importance of soya beansas input into agro-processing of cooking oils, as well as stock feeds, US$52.9 million has been set aside to support soya beans production under the programme, targeting 60 000 hectares.

 

566.    Already, 22 276 farmers have registered, offering 65 233 hectares as at 28 November 2017.

 

567.    This programme is expected to go a long way in reducing the cooking oil import bill.

 

Cotton

 

568.    Revival of cotton production stands to resuscitate the cotton to clothing value chain. This is over and above improving livelihoods of rural cotton farmers, most of who live in dry rural areas.

 

569.    In view of the above benefits, Government has scaled up its support for cotton production with free inputs valued at US$60 million, up from about US$40 million, disbursed in the previous season.

 

570.    The above resources are expected to produce at least 130 000 tons of seed cotton.

 

571.    However, incidences of side marketing of the crop to neighbouring countries and smuggling remain a threat, and Cottco will work closely with relevant authorities to improve monitoring.

 

Livestock and Dairy

 

572.    Government is in the process of extending the ‘Command Programme’ to include livestock and fisheries.

 

573.    Already, the fishing industry is receiving fingerlings for breeding purposes.

 

574.    On livestock, the programme will focus on the dairy revitalisation programme, aquaculture, and livestock disease control to enhance the quality and size of the national herd, in order to guarantee self-sufficiency and secure export markets.

 

575.    Budget interventions will, therefore, reinforce livestock and poultry pest control, as well as disease surveillance, to reduce incidences of Foot and Mouth, Anthrax, Avian Flu and Newcastle diseases outbreaks.

 

576.    To support the revival of the livestock and poultry industries, the 2018 Budget is appropriating US$9.4 million, inclusive of US$5.5 million income from dipping fees, towards dipping and vaccination services, movement control and surveillance programmes.

 

Presidential Input Scheme

 

577.    Under the Presidential Input Scheme, Government has doubled input support towards 1.8 million vulnerable households, at a cost of US$153 million.

 

578.    Household sare being provided with input packs, comprising of 10 kgs of maize seed or 5 kgs of sorghum, 50 kgs of basal and top dressing fertilizers, as well as 10 kgs of soya bean seed.

 

579.    Already, inputs valued at US$70 million have been acquired and are being distributed.

 

Availability of Inputs

 

580.    The country has enough maize seed to meet national requirements for the coming agriculture season, with 42 250 tonnes available.

 

581.    However, there is a critical shortage of soya beans seeds, for which only 2 750 tonnes are available, against a requirement of 6 000 tonnes for soya beans production under the Command Agriculture programme.

 

582.    With regards to availability of fertilizers, indications are that the fertilizer industry is currently sitting on 120 000 tonnes of fertilizer, ready for disposal to the market.

 

583.    The industry has capacity to produce an additional 160 000 tonnes between November 2017 and January 2018.

 

584.    The necessary raw materials are available in bonded houses within the country, but would require US$61.32 million in foreign currency.

 

Preparations for GMB Grain Intake

 

585.    The Grain Marketing Board will continue to rehabilitate and upgrade both silo and bagged depots to ensure safe storage of our strategic grain reserves, as well as ensure adequate preparations for the 2018/19 Intake.

 

586.    In this regard, the rehabilitation and upgrading works will focus on mechanical works, installation of generators and driers at silo depots, as well as construction of sheds, and hard stands at bagged depots.

 

587.    Arrangements will also be considered to dispose part of the strategic grain reserves around February 2018 in order to create space for the next intake.

 

Tsetse Control

 

588.    Over the recent years, the country has registered gains in eradicating tsetse flies, with the resultant reduction in the area infested from 80 000km2 to current area 29 500km2 in districts such as Kariba, Hurungwe, Guruve, Mhangura and Mbire as shown in the map below.