By Tichaona Sibanda
Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa on Thursday tabled a $4.4 billion budget in Parliament, at which he predicted the economy will grow by 6,4 percent in 2014. The 2013 budget was $3.8 billion.
The budget will have to be funded by Zimbabweans as the withdrawal of donor support from the international community, following the disputed elections, means the ruling ZANU PF party has to come up with new measures to boost domestic revenues.
In his budget speech Chinamasa increased tax on petrol and diesel and imposed a tax on EcoCash, the mobile payment system that enables Econet customers to complete simple financial transactions such as sending money to loved ones.
The decision by the government not to reform some of its controversial policies will keep investment away, as Chinamasa explicitly announced that the indigenisation laws are here to stay and there won’t be any amendments to dilute the law.
But ignoring this possibility Chinamasa said the country expects to attract $518.3 million in aid from foreign donors in 2014, up from this year’s $259.1 million, adding that government will reengage with creditors to resolve debt and unlock monetary support.
He also called on the removal of the sanctions and said the Diaspora provides $1.6 Billion to the economy from remittances, something he’d like to ‘tap into’.
The use of multiple foreign currencies, adopted in 2009 to replace a local unit ravaged by hyperinflation, will remain for the foreseeable future, said Chinamasa, quashing reports of an imminent return of the Zimbabwe dollar.
Political analyst and journalist Itai Dzamara said the budget proposal is just a pie in the sky from Chinamasa and queried where the $4.4 billion is expected to come from, as revenues have dwindled drastically since the July 31st elections.
‘The reality on the ground shows that to be pipe dream under the ZANU PF regime. Revenue inflows are continuously dwindling because of the plummeting levels of perception, confidence and capacity utilization. All these are direct consequences of political illegitimacy and crisis,’ Dzamara said. SW Radio Africa