Ncube said this year’s budget debate had been the most robust in the five years that he has been in Parliament.
He said that the tax revenues that he had proposed were aimed at raising tax revenues above 18% of gross domestic product.
“The economy right now is unable to easily move above that ratio. We are working on it. So, some of the measures we have introduced are trying to address that. Other countries such as South Africa, are closer to 30% if not higher, and Kenya closer to 25% have done better than us. Uganda has kept up, I think they are almost at 21%, Ethiopia has also kept up, and we are also working on it to see if we can continue to raise more revenue. Some of the measures cause pain here and there and debate, but that is part of the process,” Ncube said.
Below is his full response to the contributions by MPs:
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND INVESTMENT PROMOTION (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Mr. Speaker Sir, I thank Hon. Members for their robust contributions in the debate on this budget. I must say this, may be some of the older Members may not like it, but I have noticed something. I have been in this Parliament for the past five years, to me, this is the first budget debate I have experienced in five years – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – the quality of contributions is absolutely incredible. I will not say why I think so, but that is how I feel. I think some of you really agree with me in hitting the table, it is really fantastic. I thank you for this quality debate.
Mr. Speaker Sir, naturally, we are constrained for resources. So, you will find that our approach in this budget has been to deal with that, to raise as much resources as we can. We have sanctions and constraints globally, in terms of access to credit – that is really what has driven us. We also want to move our country to the next level as we try to achieve the 2030 Vision of being an upper middle-income economy. Let me go formal having made those cursory remarks.
Mr. Speaker Sir, allow me to express my appreciation to the various Portfolio Committee Chairs for their constructive comments on the 2024 National Budget Statement that I presented to this august House on 30th November, 2023. The 2024 National Budget Statement running under the theme, ‘Consolidating economic transformation’, seeks to deepen and implement reforms that will ensure progress towards the achievement of the nation’s vision as reiterated by His Excellency the President, Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa’s inaugural address on 3rd September, 2023. Hon. Chairpersons of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committees made presentations on their analysis of the 2024 National Budget. I also wish to commend Hon. Members who made their excellent contributions on the same, during parliamentary sessions since yesterday.
Continued next page