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Business Executives Say Budget Should Revive Industries

Bulawayo central business district
With the nation awaiting Thursday’s presentation of the national budget, some Gweru business people say the annual financial plan presents an opportunity for the government to resuscitate industry and boost economic growth by putting in place the right policies.

Giving their views and expectations of the 2014 budget to Studio 7, the business people said they expect Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa to come up with a budget that offers solutions to the various problems bedeviling the economy.

Former finance minister and MDC-T secretary general Tendai Biti on Thursday told journalists that he does not expect anything much from the budget as the country has no money.

He said the Zanu PF government is clueless as to what needs to be done to resolve the crisis.

Gweru-based businessman Trust Chikohora, who is also the secretary general of the Comesa Business Council, echoed Biti’s views noting that that the economy faces various problems, including the recurrent liquidity crunch.

But he said the budget presents Chinamasa with a chance to come up with a raft of measures that can be an answer to these problems.

Chikohora said given the country’s high unemployment levels owing to deindustrialization, there is an urgent need for the government to help resuscitate industries, adding that Minister Chinamasa also has to come up with policies that can make industrial revival a reality.

Development Studies lecturer Vincent Chakunda also said the national budget offers government a chance to correct past mistakes.

In its new economic blue print, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socioeconomic Transformation, the Zanu PF government admits the need for the country to mend its relations with the international community.

Chakunda said with elections having come and gone, it is now time for the Zanu PF government to stop politicking and concentrate on reviving the economy.

He said the country needs foreign direct investment, adding that Zimbabwe has a chance to fix its dented image if Chinamasa spells out how the country will deal with multilateral institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Industrialist Tendai Karimazondo, who runs Midlands Metals, a foundry that manufactures various cast iron products, said Chinamasa needs to address the problem of affordable lines of credit for industrialists.

He said the finance minister also needs to come up with pragmatic solutions to the problem of inadequate power and water supplies.

Some analysts say Zimbabwe normally comes up with good policies on paper but fails to implement them largely due to lack of political will.

It remains to be seen whether the 2014 national budget will bring the much-needed turn-around or it will be the 'Mickey Mouse' budget as what former Finance Minister Tendai Biti calls the next budget.

He says the government does not have the resources to back the country's annual financial plan.