What does Zimbabwe government surplus mean to the people?


During the first quarter, RTGS$12 million was disbursed towards education in support of teaching and learning materials as well as programmes such as student stipend support, school feeding and special needs education.

Likewise, health support amounted to RTGS$33.9 million, including preventative health and medical supplies, primary health care (child and maternal health) and hospital care (hospitals and health care centres).

Not just a balanced budget, therefore, but an ongoing expression of our values and aspirations.

Furthermore, RTGS$16.5 million was disbursed towards a whole variety of social protection programmes such as BEAM, Harmonised Social Cash Transfer, drought mitigation and sustainable livelihoods.

The fiscal position of the country has therefore been turned around in just six months. We leapfrogged the breakeven point, and jumped straight from month-to-month deficit, to month-to-month surplus.

However, this is just the beginning. And patience is required from all as the process of reform gathers pace. We must regain control of our monetary and fiscal policy.

Indeed, what we did on the first of October last year was to begin the process of restoring monetary policy as an additional tool to deal with macro-economic issues.

It is a complicated matter, but crucial to understand. As long as we were pegged to the dollar, we could not respond, or manage our monetary policy; inflation was out of our control.

It is quite clear that we need to move towards having our own domestic unit account and the RTGS$ is the beginning of that.  But it is a process. You cannot run before you can walk. And our economic legs have been broken for too long, we must first recover and get back on our feet before racing ahead with a full on new domestic unit.

We must continue to fine-tune the interbank market making it more efficient whilst also putting in place the micro institutions for making sure that monetary policy begins to work.

One of the things that we have done in order to boost our balance of payment position, is to put in place a US$500 million facility which we have sourced from outside of Zimbabwe in order to deal with demands for meeting external payments from importers and others.

While this of course is not a long- term solution, a wounded economy sometimes needs crutches, aid or support from friends on the tough road to recovery.

But we are making great strides, and progress is real. We have a surplus in both RTGS and US$.

This is no small achievement.  This is the culmination of tough economic decisions, a nation pulling through and working together, and a new economy being rebuilt for a new Zimbabwe, on the shared values of responsibility, progress and aspiration towards prosperity.

By Mthuli Ncube, Minister of Finance and Economic Development




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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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