Acting Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa will on December 7 this year present the 2018 National Budget, officials said on Tuesday. Presentation of the fiscal statement hung in the balance following recent changes in Government that saw President Emmerson Mnangagwa being sworn into office as the new Zimbabwean Head of State.
Former Finance Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo, who had initially been scheduled to present the budget on Thursday last week failed to do so as Zimbabwe went through a process that culminated in changes in the political leadership. Dr Chombo was subsequently arrested and is facing a slew of charges among them abuse of office, scattering the budget presentation plans.
He was on Monday remanded in custody until December 8. President Mnangagwa on Monday dissolved the Cabinet left behind by his predecessor, former President Robert Mugabe and appointed two acting ministers namely Chinamasa and Simbarashe Mumbengegwi who takes care of the Foreign Affairs in the meantime.
Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Dr Misheck Sibanda said the appointment of the two acting ministers was meant to “allow for uninterrupted service in critical ministries of Government”. Processes were still underway for the appointment of a new Cabinet that is expected to take a lead in pushing for rejuvenation of the economy. Officials from the Zimbabwe Parliament and Finance Ministry confirmed December 7 as the date for the much awaited budget presentation.
The 2018 National Budget is largely expected to remain around $4 billion and is expected to give direction on new policies that President Mnangagwa has said will be targeted at jump-starting the economy through boosting exports, creating jobs and attracting foreign investment.
“The bottom line is an economy which is back on its feet and in which a variety of players make choices and fulfil roles without doubts, in an environment shorn of fickle policy shifts and unpredictability,” President Mnangagwa said at his inauguration last Friday.
“Only that way can we recover this economy, create jobs for our youths and reduce poverty for all our people who must witness real, positive changes in their lives.” — New Ziana.