Live Updates: Zimbabwe 2018 National Budget Highlights and Talking Points

Finance and Economy Planning Minister Patrick Chinamasa will be presenting the 2018 National Budget before Parliament today.  This is the first budget without former President Robert Mugabe as the Head of State.

We will be updating you with the major talking points as the budget is presented:

  • President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Finance and Economic Planning Minister Patrick Chinamasa now in the house for the 2018 Budget Presentation.
  • The theme for the budget is “Towards a New Economic Order”
  • The economy remains on track to grow by 3.7 percent despite the challenges we are facing says Chinamasa.
  • Chinamasa says the economy is expected to grow by 4.5 percent in 2018.
  • Chinamasa says that inflation is expected to average 3 percent in 2017/2018.
  • The budget deficit for 2017, $1,7 billion.  This is much higher than the original amount of $400 000.
  • The government must urgently repay $1,2 billion Treasury Bills, and the total borrowings for 2018 will be $2,9 billion.
  • The government wants to review charges for mobile money and electronic transactions in order to increase plastic and mobile money transactions and to enforce acceptance of those forms of money by traders.
  • Chinamasa says that Zimbabwe is facing a mismatch between bank balances and actual cash in the Zimbabwean economy
  • The Minister says there is need to solve the cash crisis, and to deal with corruption.
  • He adds that Zimbabwe must pursue international engagement, and ensure that the 2018 elections are credible for investor confidence.
  • 86% of the exports in Zimbabwe are from mining and tobacco.
  • The government will retire all employees above 65 in order to rationalize the civil service.
  • Chinamasa stresses the need for political will and for the avoidance of reversal of measures that he has announced in the budget, perhaps mindful, of the time when former President Robert Mugabe overruled him when he had announced that he was cancelling the bonuses for civil servants.
  • The government will abolish 3 479 youth officers posts and freeze the recruitment of non-essential posts.
  • The fuel benefits for government officers are to be reviewed and only one personal vehicle will be allocated to permanent secretaries of ministries.
  • Delegations for foreign assignments will be reduced and there will be no first class travel for government officials except for the Presidium.
  • The government has resolved to downsize the number of diplomatic missions from the current 46 embassies. The embassies require $65 million per year resulting and resulted in a $17,3 million deficit.
  • ECD is going to be scrapped.
  • Technically insolvent parastatals which are not strategic will be closed down. Others will be commercialised while others will become part of joint ventures.
  • The government will set up toll-free lines to the Office of the President to allow citizens to report corruption.
  • The local authorities will be required to allocate 70% of revenue to service delivery and 30% to wages.
  • The government will engage the USA, UK and EU at the highest level of debt clearance and support, as well as international financial institutions like the IMF, World Bank.
  • Indigenisation law will be amended to limit 51:49 local ownership requirement to diamond and platinum mining only. All the other sectors are open to investment from all nationalities
  •  The expected revenue collections for 2018 stand at $5,1 billion and government expenditure is targeted at $5,8 billion.
  • Government employment costs stand at $3,2 billion.
  • Expected budget deficit of  $672 million, will be 3.5% of GDP 
  • The government will set up vocational training schools in every district to cater for 180 000 “O” level graduates thrown in the streets each year.
  • The government will honour its commitment to pay civil servants bonuses in 2018. However,  these will be staggered like what happened in 2017.
  • A target of 200 ha of land should be put under irrigation per district annually for the next 10 years.
  • US$ 132 million has been set aside for the 2018 elections

 

Budget Allocations

  • US$905 million – Primary & Secondary Education
  • US$497 million – Lands and Agriculture
  • US$420 million – Defence and war veterans
  • US$433 million – Home Affairs
  • US$408 million – Health
  • US$316 million – Higher Education
  • US$ 57 million – Parliament

 

  • Government to adopt zero tolerance on land barons.
  • Power generation projects to be exempt from corporate income tax for first five years of operation
  • Goat and sheep products now VAT exempted, joining pork, am proposing the extension of Operation Restore Order by Zimbabwe Defence Forces to Beitbridge border post beef and poultry product.
  • Chinamasa proposes extending “Operation Restore Legacy” by the ZDF to Beitbridge Border Post to remove touts and other unwanted persons operating from the customs controlled area.

 

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