Parliamentarians and analysts yesterday largely welcomed the 2024 National Budget presented in the National Assembly by Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube.
They said it was a pro-poor budget, with significant resources allocated to social services that include health and education.
Prof Ncube presented a $58,2 trillion Budget yesterday during a sitting also attended by President Mnangagwa and his deputies, Dr Constantino Chiwenga and Kembo Mohadi.
In an interview, Zanu PF Zaka South representative and chairperson of Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Investment Promotion, Cde Clemence Chiduwa, welcomed the 2024 Budget.
“We are happy with the presentation given by the Honourable Minister; the Budget is pro-poor, the Budget is looking at social issues, quite a chunk of the Budget has been given to health and to education and we are happy with that,” he said.
“What I also would want to point out is that we still want, as a country, to leverage our development agenda on the minerals that we have and we were expecting, especially the royalties on lithium to be increased at the minimum, from 2,5 percent to 5 percent and I am sure that this is an issue that we are going to cover as our oversight role otherwise we are happy with the Budget, which is pro-poor and takes into account the expected El Nino, which is going to affect our growth forecast.”
The El Nino phenomena is expected to result in the country receiving normal to below normal rainfall and a reduction in agricultural production.
Reserve Bank Governor, Dr John Mangudya hailed the 2024 Budget saying it focused on domestic resource mobilisation.
He said looking at the high cost of borrowing from outside, Treasury saw it prudent to raise money internally by introducing several measures that include taxes.
“We all know that our economy is facing challenges and borrowing from outside the country is very expensive,” he said. “This budget is about domestic resource mobilisation so that we raise resources domestically, for the purposes of funding the economy.
“If you look at all those fundamentals you will find out that it is a domestic mobilisation budget. Toll fees have gone up, there has been a number of taxes introduced, it shows they need to raise money so that infrastructure development continues to happen in the country. To me we are on course in terms of our policies.”
Economic analyst, Mr Persistence Gwanyanya, said the Budget focused on all fundamental issues that needed to be addressed.
“The Budget is commendable in my view as it tries to attend to all factors, issues like social security, the El-Nino-induced drought and the general welfare of citizens while recognising the volatile environment that we are in and it came up with measures to mitigate the effects of volatility as well as manage inflation,” he said.
“The Budget envelope of around $58,2 trillion or thereabout is a significant increase from last year, which is reflective of the volatility we are in. But we understand that the volatility mainly relates to our past and has little to do with the present conduct in terms of policy. What is equally important is the prioritisation of growth and stability.”
Zanu PF Chief Whip, Cde Pupurai Togarepi, described the Budget as one of the best, which will address the concerns of workers and civil servants by raising bonus tax-free threshold, among other factors.
“It is an inclusive Budget, which is fighting corruption as well as including everybody in the payment of taxes and social issues,” he said.
“People must have a culture of paying taxes to help the Government. The Budget is dealing with all pertinent issues about the people of Zimbabwe. It allows everyone to play a role in economic development where everyone must pay taxes.
“There was also a provision to the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission to fight corruption. So, it cuts across the sectors.”
Dzivaresekwa legislator, Mr Edwin Mushoriwa of CCC, felt the budget introduced several taxes.
Zanu PF Rushinga representative, Cde Tendai Nyabani, commended Prof Ncube for allocating resources to social sectors.
“I commend the minister for allocating a bigger chunk to social ministries such as health, education and agriculture, which benefit the ordinary people in our communities,” he said.
Mashonaland Central Women’s Quota representative Cde Getrude Chibagu said: “The budget addressed fundamental issues affecting ordinary people and I am particularly pleased that resources were allocated for the provision of sanitary ware for girls especially in rural areas.”
Budiriro North CCC representative, Ms Susan Matsunga, said the Budget should have been denominated in US dollars so that it is not affected by inflation.