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‘Mid-term budget review confirms Zim in serious leadership crisis’ – Chamisa

Opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa said the recent mid-term budget review by Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube confirmed that Zimbabwe was in a “serious leadership crisis and citizens are exposed to extreme poverty and suffering.”

In a move that reflected the impact of inflation on the budget, Ncube last week announced a supplementary budget, proposing additional spending of ZWL929 billion. Of this extra money, 53% is going towards salaries, while 19% will go to capital projects.

But Chamisa slammed the latest budget adjustment saying key priority areas like health had not been covered.

“The recent MID TERM BUDGET review confirms that Zimbabwe is in a serious leadership crisis and citizens are exposed to extreme poverty and suffering. I say this for the following reasons:

“At a time where inflation has reached 257% in July and people in extreme poverty are 7.9 million (49%), the budget disbursements to social is extremely low, e.g., ministry health has been given 27% of the budget by June instead of a min of 50%,” Chamisa said.

“When the consumer basket for a family of 5 has topped ZWL140 000, government raises salary of the lowest paid civil servants to ZWL35 000 (excluding the US$175) and raise the tax free threshold to ZWL50 000, both of which are far below the consumer basket and poverty datum line;

“There is just unrestrained indiscipline in government upon rampant galloping corruption. The condonation of ZWL 107 billion for 2020 and 2019 fiscal years is testimony to this. The government has created distortions in the foreign currency markets and now gold coins, the havens for corruption.

“We face a major economic collapse and prospects of the bleakest Christmas season this year. USD:RTGS is now at 1:approx 800. The leadership failure is dramatic, gigantic and encyclopedic.”

The main opposition leader recommended that the country should immediately dollarise in order to eliminate distortions, forward pricing and multiple pricing.

He also advocated for the restoration of the US$540 as a starting salary for civil servants.

“Holistic tax reform. Reduce the tax burden on citizens and the business in general. As part of the tax reforms, we will remove the 2% tax and streamline taxes.

” Remove distortions esp in the agricultural sector and construction sectors which has created a casino economy.

“The elimination of the Currency Auction and reforming the RBZ through limiting the power of the central bank. Separating the roles of central banking and financial services supervision.

“Reforming the budgetary process, so that the budget comes from parliament and not from the ministry of Finance. The budget must come from the Citizens -a Citizens-centered budget,” he said.

Chamisa said there was a need to radically deal with “the corruption pandemic and instituting special mechanisms to eliminate and punish the corrupt.

“Holding credible, free and fair elections preceded by a comprehensive pact on electoral reforms.

“Only a leadership change will rescue our beautiful country and in no time turn and transform this Zimbabwe from ruins to greatness. We are new leaders,” he said.

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