President Emmerson Mnangagwa has described Zimbabwe’s 2019 budget as a “historic, responsible and disciplined budget” which will be seen as a pivotal moment in the country’s economic recovery in years to come.
Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube presented an $8.2 billion budget on Thursday which included a 5 percent cut in salaries for senior government officials including the President.
Some Zimbabweans have, however, scoffed at this as a non-event.
Ncube also widened the tax bands and ordered an audit of the civil service. He also said those importing personal vehicles will be asked to pay duty in foreign currency.
“I wish to congratulate @MthuliNcube on a historic, responsible and disciplined budget, which both cuts costs and contains crucial confidence building measures to stimulate economic growth,” Mnangagwa tweeted.
“The core message – austerity for prosperity – is a central component of our strategy to restructure, reform and rebuild, and I am confident that in years to come, this will be seen as a pivotal moment in Zimbabwe’s economic recovery.”
Mnangagwa was in Parliament when the budget was presented but Movement for Democratic Change legislators had to be evicted when they refused to rise when he walked into the House.
MDC chief whip Prosper Mutseyami said Mnangagwa was not the elected President of Zimbabwe.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front stole the people’s vote therefore, he did not deserve their respect, he said.
The MDC lost its case in the country’s highest court and said it was raising the case with the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights but nothing has been heard about the petition since though the party raised funds through various platforms both in and outside Zimbabwe.
Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda who ordered the legislators out said: “the whole international community has accepted that His Excellency the President, Hon. E. D. Mnangagwa is the Head of State of Zimbabwe, so, no other person, including Hon. Members, can be allowed to have a different view all together.”
Mutseyami said there was no rule that said when a President is entering Parliament, MPs must rise up.
He said regalia was not allowed in Parliament, therefore, Mnangagwa disrespected the house when he entered the August House putting on a ZANU-PF scarf.
Mnangagwa’s scarf was designed by a private individual to “show national pride” but has now been rubbished as ZANU-PF regalia.
Mnangagwa first wore the scarf when he went to the World Economic Forum in Davos to tell the international community that Zimbabwe was now open for business.
Asked the purpose of the scarf by China Central Television, Mnangagwa said: “This is the flag which unites the people of Zimbabwe. I’m proud of my country.”