Zimbabwe: MDC Alliance Trashes Chinamasa's 'Lipstick' Budget Reforms

Photo: The Herald
Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa presented Zimbabwe's 2018 Budget.
8 December 2017

Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa's budget has been dismissed by the MDC Alliance which says the proposal does not fully address fundamental reforms being advocated for by the opposition ahead of the 2018 elections.

Chinamasa presented the 2018 $5.1 billion budget on Thursday.

The MDC Alliance is demanding reforms and that the United Nations should play a role in next year's election, saying the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is biased towards Zanu PF.

Addressing a press conference in Harare Friday, the Alliance's policy head, Tendai Biti, said Chinamasa's "lipstick reforms" were not going to take the economy anywhere.

According to Biti, "Chinamasa just scratched the surface and failed to offer deeper solutions in solving the economic challenges facing the country".

"We insist that there has to be a structural reform ... dealing with legitimacy, institutional reform, economic crisis and the people's livelihoods. Anything besides this does not address the fundamental reforms and does not set Zimbabwe on an irreversible and irrevocable trajectory to sustainability, transformation, legitimacy and democracy," said Biti.

The former Finance minister in the government of national Unity wondered where Chinamasa was going to get the money in a non-productive economy.

He said, "Where will this kind of money come from? What miracle can come out of this bag? This is not achievable? Inflation is already above 3 percent due to budget deficit.

"Chinamasa could have done more on his wage bill reduction. The 4000 youths removed from the government payroll are not enough because there are more than 200 000 ghost workers on the wage bill," said Biti.

He said the ill-discipline and failure to live within its means by the Zanu PF regime has brought the country to its knees creating distortions and contradictions in the economy.

"The 2018 budget is predicated on reducing the budget deficit to 4 percent of GDP but we think there are critical drivers of budget deficit that will make attaining budget cap of 4 percent not possible," said Biti.

He argued that the $132 million set aside for next year's election.

"We have a new creature on the scene, enhanced command agriculture which will consume a sum of $1.5 billion. Command agriculture will be a major driver of the 2018 deficit."

"We have a much bigger problem than we used to have hence the need to agree on a transitional agreement, eliminate deficit financing and resort to cash budgeting, total repeal of Indigenisation law, formation of an industrial fund to recapitalize industries and the leveraging of mining industry, financial sector reform e.g. need to demonetize the bond note," added the People's Democratic Party leader

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