HARARE – Finance and Economic Development minister Patrick Chinamasa has been on the lips of many after unveiling a 2018 National Budget last week that broke with the ruling party’s tradition.
With President Emmerson Mnangagwa having set the tone in his inaugural speech of November 24 by reaching out to all those who wish to be part of Zimbabwe’s economic development agenda, Chinamasa did not disappoint.
He delivered what probably ranks among the most progressive national budgets ever presented in the National Assembly since independence in 1980.
Chinamasa has undone most of the previous regime’s obnoxious policies and practices by taking the country on a new development path.
Among the many refreshing things in his budget, he relaxed the indigenisation law and promised far-reaching parastatal reforms.
He also tightened the screws on government expenditure to curb the budget deficit, whose financing has caused havoc in the national economy.
In due course, there shall be staff rationalisation in the civil service, with those beyond their retirement age being asked to pave way for new blood.
On paper, Chinamasa’s budget represents a new approach to Zanu PF’s way of doing things but has the leopard really changed its spots?
Few believe it has because nothing has really changed except for the cosmetic change of guard at State House. It is still the same faces that were complicit in the destruction of the country’s economy making up the bulwark of Mnangagwa’s Cabinet.
Looking at the economic policies that have been introduced in Zimbabwe before, one finds it difficult to fish out one thing that has not be suggested in previous blueprints such as the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation, Zimprest and many others.
Nonetheless, Mnangagwa and his team deserve the benefit of the doubt. The test they must pass is that of turning their dreams into reality by implementing policies outlined in their blueprints because the devil has always been in the implementation of government policies.