Lloyd Gumbo Herald Reporter
PARLIAMENTARIANS yesterday received with mixed reactions next year’s proposed National Budget with the majority of Zanu-pf legislators welcoming it, while the minority MDC-T Members of Parliament dismissed it as unsustainable. Bulawayo South MP, Mr Edward Cross, is the only MDC-T legislator who did not tow the party line by hailing Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa for presenting “an attainable budget”.
Mashonaland East Provincial Affairs Minister Simbaneuta Mudarikwa, said the proposed US$4,2 billion budget was realistic as it was anchored on the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation.
“It’s a very realistic budget. There is now money directed to artisanal miners who are our people in the rural areas, which means everybody is now master of his own destiny and financed by Government, supported by Zim Asset endorsed by the heroic Chinhoyi People’s Conference,” said Minister Mudarikwa.
Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment portfolio committee chairperson Cde Justice Mayor Wadyajena, hailed Minister Chinamasa for re-affirming that there was no going back on the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment policy.
“It is something that every Zimbabwean must be excited about because it is a policy for the people. Now that the minister has re-affirmed that position, we expect companies that are supposed to indigenise to heed the call.
“We also support his call for policy consistency on the issue because there have been some disturbing pronouncements of late that sought to imply that indigenisation would be reversed. We are also happy that the minister has re-affirmed issues identified by Zim Asset, which in itself is founded on indigenisation and empowerment in terms of ownership of the economy,” said Cde Wadyajena who is also the legislator for Gokwe Nembudziya.
Chairperson for the portfolio committee on Environment, Water, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Cde Annastancia Ndhlovu, hailed Minister Chinamasa for extending duty free facility for the importation of capital goods for players in the tourism sector.
“This is a welcome development as it will contribute to the growth of the sector in that it allows our players to be able to develop their existing capacities.
“The revamping of water infrastructure as well as irrigation infrastructure will no doubt allow us to achieve food security, which is one of the priority areas of Zim Asset. That in my view was a score by the Minister of Finance and if we achieve that Zim Asset is going to succeed,” she said.
Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Lands, Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation chairperson Cde David Butau, said it was the first time for Zimbabwe to have a budget that reflected the real situation on the ground.
“In one of the committee meetings with the bankers we said we needed to find common ground with the bankers. Not to create unnecessary commotion but say to them ‘there is a need for us to find each other in a manner that plays a critical role in the reformation of a cooperative process’. The minister has re-affirmed our position and we are vindicated,” said Cde Butau who is Mbire representative.
Senator Thokozile Mathuthu, said the budget proposal was in line with the party manifesto and Zim Asset as it prioritised paying civil servants salaries that were above the Poverty Datum Line.
“We are excited because His Excellency, the President at the Zanu-PF National People’s Conference in Chinhoyi said we must find money for civil servants and the minister has confirmed that in the current budget he is pegging their salaries above the Poverty Datum Line. That is highly commendable,” she said.
MDC-T secretary general and former Finance Minister Mr Tendai Biti, said the US$100m inter-bank programme was not adequate. “If you are going to demonitise at US$20 million, people are going to get US$3 or US$2. So you are better off not doing it, I tried it; it doesn’t work as long as you don’t have at least US$50 billion,” said Mr Biti who represents the MDC-T in Harare East.
MDC-T chief whip, Mr Innocent Gonese, said the budget failed to identify the cause of the economic malaise that were, maladministration and corruption.
But Mr Cross said Minister Chinamasa managed to present an attainable budget.
“He has presented an optimistic view, in my view. But I think an attainable view. I think what he has set out today, we can achieve. But I think that he still has to do more on the investment front.
“It’s a big step forward. It’s the most he could do. He is not flashed with money but he has done the best that he can. I think what he has done is very important,” said Mr Cross.