Zim yearns for a people’s budget

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Mugove Tafirenyika

CHIEF WRITER

tafirenyikam@dailynews.co.zw

 

In addition, experts who spoke to the Daily News yesterday would like Ncube to remove some of the onerous taxes on commerce and industry, to promote investment and job creation in the country.

This comes after the government recently unveiled its new economic blueprint, the National Development Strategy (NDS1), which kicks off on January 1 next year.

Today’s budget presentation also comes as the economy continues to hold steady, following the recent implementation of a raft of measures — including the introduction of the foreign currency auction system in June, which has contained the once rampant forex parallel market.

The National Consumer Rights Association (Nacora) said it was expecting “a people-centred budget”.

“The expectations of consumers are around containing inflation and that prices remain affordable.

“Consumers are also job-seekers and workers. So, they also expect that the budget focuses on job creation and that existing jobs pay better salaries so that they are able to send their children to school and meet their day-to-day expenses,” Nacora spokesperson, Effie Ncube, said.

The secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), Japhet Moyo, said workers wanted Ncube’s budget to support further the current stability in prices of basic consumer goods and services.

“As workers, we would expect the government to put money where there are people, including the informal sector.

“Money must be put into job creation, welfare issues such as health and salaries of public servants. We don’t expect a bigger vote in the security sector.

“More money must also go to agriculture because that is where the people are. The budget must also speak to infrastructure such as bridges and roads,” Moyo told the Daily News.

On his part, the president of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers, Denford Mutashu, said the 2021 budget needed to stimulate demand “in an economy where disposable incomes have been battered”.

“The budget should pave the way for an earnest journey towards a single digit inflation figure as we now have inflation both in United States dollars and the local currency.

“There must also be poverty eradication through the provision of social safety nets in areas like education, access to health, access to affordable inputs for communal farmers and access to key basic commodities, as well as access to decent housing and clean water for the majority,” he said.

Mutashu added that the business community also expected Ncube to reduce some of the taxes that commerce and industry were shouldering, as a stimulus to attracting fresh domestic investment.

The recent launch of the ambitious NDS1 economic plan comes as Zimbabwe is beginning to enjoy relative economic stability, after months of chaos which saw inflation soaring to 800 percent — amid foreign currency shortages and high prices of basic consumer goods and services.

NDS1 is expected to see the economy growing by five percent every year during its five-year lifespan — which growth will be driven by agriculture, mining, manufacturing and tourism.

MANY Zimbabweans are hoping that Finance minister Mthuli Ncube’s budget statement today will focus on the further improvement of the lives of long-suffering citizens.

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