Former Finance Minister Tendai Biti said that Zimbabwe’s economy is now off the rails following the announcement of the ZW$929.3 billion supplementary budget recently.
Biti, who is the Harare East legislator (CCC), made the remarks in Parliament last week while MPs debated a Committee report on the supplementary budget presented to the House by Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube at the end of last month. Said Biti:
We have been there before, in 2006, 2007 and 2008, once you begin to budget in trillions, you must know you have lost it. You must know that you have now become an innocent bystander to the economy.
You must know that you are no longer in charge of the economy. Unfortunately, that is the predicament that my good friend, the Minister of Finance finds himself in.
A supplementary budget is an increase, of 10%; 15% – you can call it a supplementary budget.
… but when you have a 100% increase on the original budget, it cannot be a supplementary budget.
This is a brand new budget; a budget that is now raising expenditure by 100% to $1.9 trillion.
Ncube presented a supplementary budget of ZW$929.3 billion on top of the initial 2022 approved budget of ZW$968.3 billion. This increased the proposed 2022 budget to ZW$1.9 trillion.
Biti, who is CCC parliamentary spokesman on the economy, said Ncube’s budget presentations have become meaningless. He said:
The concern is that the underlying assumptions made by the Minister were so far off the mark that hardly more than six months later, he has had to come to this august House to ask for a 100% increase in his budget.
So we question the legitimacy and credibility of all the processes that we are doing. It is a waste of time that we are asked to sit here when the Minister is going to go and be off target by 100%.