Present a pro-poor budget –Ncube advised
By Vimbai Kamoyo
A debt advocacy organisation has urged the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mthuli Ncube, to come up with a pro-poor budget in his upcoming presentation.
The minister is set to present his 2022 budget in November or early December.
Writing in its weekly review the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt Development (ZIMCODD) said minister Ncube needs to come up with a budget that will provide safety nets to the vulnerable in the society.
“During the past month, ZIMCODD has contributed towards the possibility of a pro-poor national budget by raising citizens’ awareness of budget issues and facilitating robust participation in Parliament’s National Budget Consultative Meetings are held throughout the country. Balancing the complex and intersecting expectations of the various stakeholders to the national cake in the context of heavy indebtedness, economic slowdown, pandemic recovery poses a huge challenge for policymakers.
“Citizens’ broad expectations for a people-centered 2022 National Budget reflect the primacy of education, health, agriculture, economic stimulus, and democratic reform in citizens’ considerations,” said ZIMCODD.
The organisation said the financial plan must unlock the potential to create jobs and must be all-encompassing.
“The budget must stimulate structural transformation and spark massive job creation through the inclusion of the informal sector, agriculture, and small-scale and artisanal mining in the mainstream economy.
“It must provide meaningful economic stimulus packages and financial inclusion targeting the informal sector, smallholder agriculture, and small-scale and artisanal mining sectors where the majority of Zimbabweans currently earn their livelihoods.
“It is imperative that the minister address extreme poverty and inequality through the provision of universal social safety nets and improved service delivery in the education and health sectors, funded through a redistributive Wealth Tax and contributions to the Sovereign Wealth Fund.
The organisation also advised the minister to fund infrastructure development in the country as it has an impact on the development of other sectors of the economy.
“The budget must support State-driven infrastructure development to address the gaps in low-cost housing; schools and clinics construction; small dam constructions as a means to create new jobs and provide quality and accessible public infrastructure.
“There is need stabilize macro-economic fundamentals by strengthening Public Finance Management (PFM) and extinguishing corruption, reforming the auction foreign exchange market, extinguishing or promoting sustainability of public debt and stemming Illicit financial flows in the mining sector and unjust tax incentives in the mining sector,” said ZIMCODD.
The organisation advised the government to work with other stakeholders to fast track the achievement of its goals.
“It is imperative for government to cooperate with development partners to expedite the support of vital services such as health, education and food relief programmes. Also, being accountable remains a key role for government to garner policy support and enable wider stakeholder engagement,” it said.