IN AN unprecedented move the cash- strapped Zimbabwean government will be holding nationwide consultations with the public ahead of next year’s budget, from Monday next week, at various centres around the country, says the National Assembly’s Portfolio Committee on Finance and Economic Development in a statement released today (Friday).
“The objective of these public consultative hearings is to engender a participatory budget framework based on a bottom-up approach in line with the provisions of the Public Finance Management Act and the Constitution which are aimed at broadening the democratic space in economic governance,” says the committee.
“All stakeholders are urged to make use of the opportunity provided by these hearings to meaningfully participate in the 2017 National Budget formulation process.”
The consultations will run until Saturday 17 September where Committee members will divide into two teams for the hearings.
Team A will hold hearings in Mutare, Rusape, Marondera, Murewa, Harare, Mvurwi, Bindura, Chinhoyi, Kariba,” said the committee, while Team B will be in Masvingo, Mwenezi, Beitbridge, Gwanda, Bulawayo, Lupane, Victoria Falls, Gweru, Redcliff.”
The consultations come amid a deepening economic crisis that has seen the government struggle to pay civil servant salaries, forcing to cut 25 000 jobs from its bloated civil service. Government salaries take up a whopping 96.8 percent of the annual budget.
Presenting the mid-term budget to parliament on Thursday, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa said: “The outlook, based on the status quo, points to a situation where projected revenues fall short of meeting employment costs, leaving no room for expenditure on operations and maintenance, as well as capital projects.”
Chinamasa blamed the cash shortage, regional drought and investment shortfalls for Zimbabwe’s worsening economic woes. – ANA edited by Patience Rusere