Zimbabwe legislator says you cannot celebrate surplus amid poverty and joblessness

Zimbabwe legislator says you cannot celebrate surplus amid poverty and joblessness

Opposition legislator Tapiwa Mashakada yesterday said Zimbabwe could not celebrate a budget surplus amid poverty and joblessness.

Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube has managed to reduce government expenditure, leaving a surplus, but Mashakada, a former Economic Planning Minister, said while this was commendable it was not something to celebrate.

“You cannot celebrate a surplus amidst poverty, joblessness, when hospitals have no drugs, nurses are on strike, doctors are not adequately paid, teachers are not going to work and the children are out of school,” Mashakada said in his contribution in response to President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s State of the Nation Address.

“These are qualitative socio-economic issues that you have to balance, not just the matrix because development is not about just matrix or number crunching….

“We must place the people at the centre of our development trajectory, not numbers and figures.”

Mashakada said the country was still in hyperinflation mode so the government could not celebrate stabilizing the economy.

He also said Zimbabwe could not celebrate stability when there was no economic growth.

“If you go to Bulawayo now, you will see that factories are still closed. If you go to the Midlands, ZISCO Steel is still closed.  Mutare, Harare – Coventry, Birmingham area; factories are still closed,” he said.

“The day these factories are going to be open, that is the day we are said to be working on our growth, production and productivity.  That will give us a sustainable stability in the economy.  So far this stability is shaky or hazy because it is not backed by production or productivity.”

The Hatfield legislator lamented the lack of consultation in the formulation of national policies and development programmes.

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