After the events of November 2017, then Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa announced a budget filled with sound bites in what he termed the “New Economic Order”.
The gullible gave him a standing ovation but alas even by ZANU-PF standards, this so-called budget was the worst in more than two decades.
Yesterday, Mthuli Ncube presented another hollow fiscal statement, which fails to deal with real issues and shies away from confronting the doors of raw State power. In any case, the so-called budget statement is utterly deficient in addressing the fundamentals and the substance.
The budget fails dismally to deal with the question of the currency for use in the country and in fact it adds more distortions than clarity on the issue. The lack of clarity on currency issue is at the centre of the multi pricing system and a decisive Minister ought to bite the bullet and make a decision on the matter.
Yet Mthuli, in his budget, ignores the distortions being caused by the bond note, he proves beyond reasonable doubt that he is scared of the raw State power which is in the hands of ZANU-PF hardliners and securocratic oligarchs who need to maintain a printing press of sorts for purposes of patronage.
It is therefore clear that his claim of arresting run-away expenditure is just but pub talk, as long as the printing press is alive the state will continue to finance ZANU-PF activities and fund the lifestyles of the elites.
The Minister should have proposed the demonetizing of the bond note, reverting to a proper multi-currency regime and outlining a path towards joining the rand monetary union. It is clear that there is a foreign currency crisis owing to the unproductive environment arresting Zimbabwean industry as well as exchange and price controls that have resulted in chronic shortages of basics.
A budget with a wrong diagnosis will not be able to proffer accurate solutions. Just like the old ZANU-PF character, Mthuli also joins the bandwagon of denial, and he does not take responsibility.
He fails to take responsibility for fueling speculative behavior in the second generation problems after his reckless announcement of separating NOSTRO and RTGS accounts as well as the ruthless taxes he imposed.
These also form part of the package resulting in price hikes.
Mthuli however in his presentation admits part of the problem is lack of confidence but mumbles without telling us what he will do about it.
The source of confidence is not reflected in his narrative yet we in the MDC have always advised that the only way to deal with confidence issues is to deal with legitimacy issues. Those who steal elections cannot inspire confidence.
This is directly linked to the issue of reform which Mthuli mentions in his statement, he speaks of democracy as a panacea to international acceptance yet on the same day barbaric and shameful fascists assault MDC MPs in Parliament—an environment of privilege.
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