I cry for our beloved country Zimbabwe. It seems we are experiencing a never ending economic tsunami, its always a case of bad to worse. It seems as if there is a recessionary juggernaut working headwinds to an economic recovery. We have a budget deficit of US$400 million, negative Balance Of Payments (BOP) of US$1.2 billion. Transparency International (TI) ranks us 150 out of 168 countries in terms of the global corruption index whilst in the World Bank’s Doing Business Index of 2017, Zimbabwe ranks 161 out of 190 countries. It basically never rains for our country and as Murphy’s Law has it; ‘everything that can go wrong is go wrong’.
I was once asked how then does government fund these budget deficits and the import and export disparities? Simple, government expenditure is financed through its creditors. It is estimated that the Zimbabwe owes in excess of US$10 billion to various traders. This issue is further compounded by the fact that the Minister of the Exchequer Patrick Chinamasa (I don’t envy this man) has been in the business of manufacturing pseudo budgets. I was was utterly shocked that the Midlands province was allocated US$460,000 in the current year budget but have only been given a paltry US$3,000.
It is interesting to note that most institutions have been given 10% of what they have been allocated by Treasury. It’s a case of virtual non-existent money been allocated. The various ministries and institutions that are supposed to send their budget proposals have just adopted a copy paste attitude, submitting prior year proposals and changing the dates. It has become a futile exercise trying to ascertain the budgetary support needed in the forthcoming fiscal year.
The Minister of Finance tried to implement some austerity measures like suspending bonuses for two years for civil servants and retrenching and those proposals were vehemently rejected by his superiors. The budget is not the main issue, the main issue is the shrinking economy which can be addressed by reviving domestic industry, structural reforms targeted at sound macroeconomic policies and attracting massive Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Zimbabwe had only US$400 million compared to Zambia (US$3.7 billion) and Mozambique (US$1 billion) in terms FDI for the fiscal year ending 2015.