Chamisa rips mid-term budget, flags barren Zanu PF leadership

HARARE – Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa has dismissed government’s 2022 Mid-Term budget statement as a blatant certification to citizen poverty adding the fiscal blueprint was reflective of barren leadership within the current Zanu PF led administration.

Last Thursday, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube issued his 2022 Mid-Term Review and Budget Statement, which critics dismissed as a pro-elitist script that failed to address the fundamental disequilibrium disadvantaging ordinary citizens.

The country’s unstable economy, an albatross around the current government’s neck, suffers multiple challenges.

They include hyperinflation, exchange rate collapse, public sector wage collapse, social sector collapse, low output, deficit financing and national debt, as well as tax reform.

In a statement, Chamisa slammed Ncube’s budget as discriminatory against the country’s beleaguered public workforce whose wage buying power continues being chewed by galloping inflation, pegged at 257 percent end of July.

“The recent mid-term budget review confirms that Zimbabwe is in a serious leadership crisis and citizens are exposed to extreme poverty and suffering. I say this for the following reasons:

“At a time when inflation has reached 257% in July and people in extreme poverty are 7.9 million (49%), the budget disbursements to social (fiscus) is extremely low, e.g. ministry health has been given 27% of the budget by June instead of a minimum of 50%.

“When the consumer basket for a family of five has topped ZW $140 000, government raises the salaries of the lowest paid civil servants to ZW$35 000 (excluding the US$175) and raise the tax free threshold to $50 000, both of which are far below the consumer basket and poverty datum line,” said Chamisa.

Civil servants have repeatedly expressed their dissatisfaction with their low wages and working conditions with government often putting a half-hearted attempt to remedy their plight.

A crunch meeting with union leaders on Monday saw government promise to review civil servants’ salaries in September coupled with corresponding increase in the US dollar component.

Chamisa also said the mid-term budget, which was subjected to a more-than-100 percent review, revealed government’s fiscal indiscipline.

“There is just unrestrained indiscipline in government upon rampant galloping corruption. The condonation of ZWL$ 107 billion for 2020 and 2019 fiscal years is testimony to this.

“The government has created distortions in the foreign currency markets and now gold coins, the havens for corruption.

“We face a major economic collapse and prospects of the bleakest Christmas season this year. USD: RTGS is now at 1: approx 800. The leadership failure is dramatic, gigantic and encyclopedic,” said the opposition chief.

He urged government to immediately dollarise and abandon the multi-currency system in order to eliminate ruinous price distortions to the economy.

Chamisa said if elected to form the next government, his party will introduce a comprehensive tax reform system to reduce the burden on citizens and businesses.

The opposition chief also promised to scrap central bank’s unpopular currency auction system.

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