The Minister of Finance, Tendai Biti, held a press conference this week announcing the dates for public consultative meetings to be held around the country by his ministry. Presentations and comments from these will inform the rationale in formulating the 2012 budget strategy.
He announced that the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning would be using a different fiscal position for the 2012 budget. Factors informing his ministry’s decision to implement a different strategy included the 2010 Global economic crisis which was entering a second round this year and the need for a budget which better served the needs of the Zimbabwe people.
During his address the minister stated that only 33% of government expenditure went towards meeting the needs of the Zimbabwean people. The remaining 67% was consumed in providing wages for the civil service, which currently numbers at 235 000 people.
The minister lamented the lack of a common vision for Zimbabwe among politicians in the inclusive government. ‘There is a Kwashiorkor of common vision,’ he said. Other issues he mentioned were the slow pace of reforms, and the slow pace of implementation of resolutions made by even the smallest governmental unit.
The 2012 budget will focus on the following:
Macro-economic growth and stability
Maintaining inflation levels and interest rates
A planned special emphasis on the education sector
The ministry will hold public consultative meetings with all relevant stakeholders including specialised bodies and organisations from all sectors of the economy, including retailers, bankers and government and donor entities. The meetings have intentionally been scheduled to begin in Southwest Zimbabwe, a region which, historically, has been neglected by the fiscal authority.
The 2012 Budget Strategy paper will be unveiled in parliament on Tuesday 4 October.