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Zimbabwe's Parties Divided Over Government's 2016 Budget Proposal

Zimbabwe's Finance Minster Patrick Chinamasa in parliament.
Zimbabwe's Finance Minster Patrick Chinamasa in parliament.

The country’s political parties are deeply divided in their reaction to the $4 billion budget proposal for 2016 unveiled Thursday by Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa.

The ruling Zanu PF party has hailed the budget as key in stimulating growth.

But the opposition MDC, in a statement issued by its economic affairs secretary, Webber Chinyadza, called Chinamasa's budget statement a damp squib.

Chinyadza said infighting in Zanu PF and various government ministries is affecting efforts for the country to move forward as politicians spend time arguing about succession politics instead of discussing how to improve production and productivity in the country.

“The MDC is gravely concerned that the 2016 national budget has not put in place a substantive program to resuscitate the ailing economy,” says Chinyadza in the statement.

“The poor budget statement does not indicate the willingness of the Zanu PF regime to create the promised 2, 2 million jobs, neither does it have a definitive plan to ease the liquidity crunch that is debilitating nor a program of action to reverse the deflationary conditions prevailing in the economy and hence no positive programs to grow the aggregate demand in the country.”

As a result, he said, the current conditions of weakening business environment will continue unabated and any hope to grow the economy dashed.

He said his party is also dismayed by the ‘lukewarm approach to increase both domestic and foreign investors by government.’

But Zanu PF Uzumba Member of Parliament, Simbaneuta Mudarika told VOA that the budget proposal is sound.

“What they have managed to do with that budget is that we have stopped importing,” he said.

“We were importing left, right and center. Now government has banned the importation of wheat – what it means that the milling industry is now going to start operating and those who had been retrenched will go back to work.”

He said the government should go further and ban the importation of vegetables from South Africa which he said are competing with local organic produce.

Mudarikwa believes the budget, if adopted, would see some positive changes being recorded in Zimbabwe's economy next year.

Interview With Simba Mudarikwa on the 2016 budget proposal
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Leader of the opposition Mavambo Kusile Dawn and former finance minister, Simba Makoni, agreed with the MDC saying the budget proposal is off the mark.

“The issue is not the numbers but acknowledging that the country is in crisis and taking measures to address the crisis,” said Makoni.

“The first level of crisis is the crisis of confidence, but more importantly, people are enduring extreme hardships in their lives every day, people are living in fear of harassment and victimization every day and no amount of dollars will solve the democratic deficit in the country and the violence and intimidation.”

He continued: “Maintaining a budget that spends 80 percent on salaries and wages of people not doing anything it totally ludicrous. He should have started by cutting the suit according to his cloth, which means basically living within our means.”

Interview With Simba Makoni on the the Government's 2016 Budget Proposal
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