Zimbabwe Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube is expected to present his much-awaited 2019 budget this afternoon at 14.30.
Ncube who came on with a lot of promise when he was appointed to President Emmerson Mnangagwa in September received a baptism of fire when his move to abolish the bond note by the end of this year was thwarted and his two percent tax on transactions was flatly rejected by the nation.
But Ncube seems to have little choice as he has to prove himself after giving up his job in Switzerland to join Mnangagwa’s administration.
Ncube, like his boss Mnangagwa, seems determined to prove that he can indeed help to turn Zimbabwe into an upper middle income by 2030.
His biggest battle, however, is a skeptical public which does not believe anything good can come from Mnangagwa whose every move is viewed with an eye on his former colleague President Robert Mugabe who was forced to resign in November last year.
The fuel shortages which the government said it had addressed have resurfaced and prices have stabilised but are three times or more than they were at the beginning of October.
But while Zimbabweans are whining all the way, foreign investors are lining up for opportunities the country, which is said to have one of the best climates in the world, offers.
Mnangagwa this week said he could not understand why Zimbabweans were so negative because this was costing the country dearly.
While everything points to recovery and buoyancy, according to the Zimbabwean media and some of its people everything is doom and gloom.
“Daily I meet delegations and visitors from different parts of the world,” Mnangagwa said. “To the number, they express surprise that the country they read about before they visit is hardly the same country they find and live in when they arrive.
“They confess to a marked positive discrepancy. Further, they remark and ask: ‘Mr President, it is your people and Press here, not foreigners or foreign press, responsible for writing down your country. Why?’”
In some quarters, Ncube’s budget has already been condemned before he has even announced it.