‘Ex­pect a bal­anced 2019 Bud­get’

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - NEWS - Kuda Bwititi Chief Re­porter

FI­NANCE and Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Pro­fes­sor Mthuli Ncube will on Thurs­day present the 2019 Na­tional Bud­get, which will give ef­fect to in­ter­ven­tions pro­pounded in the Tran­si­tional Sta­bil­i­sa­tion Plan.

Prof Ncube’s in­au­gu­ral bud­get since Pres­i­dent Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa ap­pointed him to the post in Septem­ber will set the tra­jec­tory for cre­ation of an up­per mid­dle-in­come econ­omy by 2030.

In an in­ter­view last week, Prof Ncube said he would bal­ance aus­ter­ity with in­cen­tives for pro­duc­tive sec­tors and sus­tain­able liveli­hoods for or­di­nary peo­ple.

“It will be a bal­anced bud­get with enough car­rot and also de­cent stick; but hope­fully more car­rot than stick be­cause we want to recre­ate that en­vi­ron­ment of con­fi­dence, to build con­fi­dence go­ing for­ward,” he said.

“We want to make sure that there are enough in­cen­tives for in­dus­try and also that there is job cre­ation. We want to reg­u­late cer­tain be­hav­iours. We hope that the Bud­get will com­mu­ni­cate the mes­sage of dis­ci­pline.”

The min­is­ter added: “The idea is to ca­jole the econ­omy as we move to the next level, as we go ahead with the mantra that we are open for busi­ness. We are de­sirous to move the econ­omy to up­per mid­dle-in­come sta­tus so the Bud­get will be an in­stru­ment of en­act­ment to­wards at­tain­ment of that vi­sion, and will carry on the fol­low­ing year and will keep build­ing the way up.

“The idea is to bal­ance the in­cen­tives to the mar­ket dis­ci­pline, that’s what will come out to make sure that there are enough in­cen­tives and also enough reg­u­la­tory char­ac­ter so that we stay within the straight and nar­row.”

Con­fed­er­a­tion of Zim­babwe In­dus­tries pres­i­dent Mr Sife­lani Ja­bangwe said in­dus­try an­tic­i­pated fis­cal sup­port for man­u­fac­tur­ers.

“One of the main is­sues that we ex­pect is for the min­is­ter to pro­vide a so­lu­tion to help in­dus­try ac­cess for­eign cur­rency needed for our pro­duc­tion pro­cesses,” he said.

“We thus ex­pect a re­view of the al­lo­ca­tions of for­eign cur­rency to al­low those that have the cur­rency to trade with those that need it. We hope that we can be able to get ac­cess to credit line in view of the nos­tro sta­bil­i­sa­tion fa­cil­i­ties that have been spo­ken about.”

Zim­babwe Na­tional Cham­ber of Com­merce chief ex­ec­u­tive Mr Christo­pher Mu­gaga said the best way for­ward was to de-dol­larise the econ­omy.

“What is now com­ing up is a lo­cal cur­rency econ­omy and we don’t ex­pect a bud­get be­low $10 bil­lion. This is a con­fir­ma­tion that we were no longer dol­larised as we were.”

Mr Mu­gaga said Prof Ncube should con­sider es­tab­lish­ing a for­eign cur­rency auc­tion sys­tem.

“In Nige­ria, they have a for­eign cur­rency sys­tem where the ex­change rates are used for dif­fer­ent pur­poses. For ex­am­ple, there is an ex­change rate in Nige­ria used for school fess pay­ments, there is an ex­change rate for those in in­dus­tries and there is an ex­change rate for the oil sec­tor.

“So they have al­lo­cated the for­eign cur­rency mar­ket for dif­fer­ent in­dus­tries and if you are a player in crit­i­cal in­dus­tries you ac­cess the for­eign cur­rency at a dif­fer­ent rate.”

Zim­babwe Min­ers Fed­er­a­tion pres­i­dent Ms Hen­ri­etta Rush­waya called for in­cen­tives for ar­ti­sanal min­ers who have con­trib­uted the bulk of gold out­put, which is set to reach a record 34 tonnes this year.

“We have made our sub­mis­sions to the Min­istry of Mines and Min­ing De­vel­op­ment and these in­clude pro­posed re­duc­tion of min­ing li­cences. Our top pri­or­ity is for­mal­i­sa­tion of op­er­a­tions be­cause some of the min­ers are not com­pli­ant be­cause of ex­ces­sive charges on li­cences.

“We also hope that the ZMF can be sup­ported through the fis­cal pro­cesses by al­lo­cat­ing a cer­tain amount of money from min­eral rev­enue. This will help us to for­malise and en­hance op­er­a­tions of small scale min­ers so that we can in­crease pro­duc­tion in line with the 100 tonne tar­get for 2023.”

The Cham­ber of Mines will present a state of the min­ing sec­tor re­port to­mor­row, and that doc­u­ment will con­tain bud­getary rec­om­men­da­tions.

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