The National Budget set to be presented in Parliament today, will focus on consolidating economic gains achieved so far by laying the foundation for sustainable and inclusive growth, according to Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube.
Mthuli will this afternoon present the 2024 fiscal plan themed: “Consolidating economic transformation.”
He is expected to address the nation’s aspirations, particularly business for continued growth, stability and prosperity.
Mthuli said the economy had undergone major transformation, driven by growth in critical sectors such as infrastructure, mining, agriculture and tourism.
He said Zimbabwe demonstrated resilience and adaptability, paving the way for sustained and robust economic growth.
“The economy has undergone (what) would I say tremendous transformation for us to have come out of Covid the way we did,” said Mthuli told our sister Television Station, ZTN Prime in a pre-budget interview.
He said the economy had achieved successive growth rates above the regional average, having expanded by 18,5 percent and 6,5 percent in 2021 and 2022 respectively and is expected to register a 5,3 percent growth this year.
Substantial investments have also been made in social infrastructure including learning facilities for primary and tertiary sectors as well as healthcare facilities in urban and rural areas.
In addition, Zimbabwe’s mining sector has experienced a remarkable surge in recent years, fuelled by significant growth in lithium, gold, iron ore, and platinum projects, creating employment quality jobs and propelling economic growth.
Further, various initiatives to support farmers, including providing access to inputs were implemented, leading to enhanced productivity and improved food security.
Mthuli said: “The speed at the scale of the projects,” were encouraging and would undoubtedly keep the country on course to become an upper middle-income economy.
“There is a complete transformation of the economy everywhere and we want to consolidate that transformation by making sure that we add where we need to add, we fine-tune where we need to fine-tune, crowd in the private sector where it is needed, fine-tune our social protection programmes. We want to consolidate this transformation so that it takes us to the next level as we move towards Vision 2030.”
While ministries and State departments have submitted budget proposals amounting to $110 trillion, Mthuli underscored the fact that the Government’s spending must align with its capacity. He said that exceeding the 18 percent GDP threshold would lead to unsustainable debt levels and jeopardize the nation’s economic stability.
He, however, said priority would be given to sectors that ensure the transformation is consolidated.
“It’s never easy; ministries fight for their budgets as they should. Even my ministry does the same thing with me. So it’s always a tough job (of) balancing priorities,” he said.
(We will) “Prioritise those sectors that ensure the transformation of consolidated.
“We have a finite envelope, but we also use a track record on how each ministry has done.
“We also make use of that record, we can see which ministry overspends and if it is because we gave them less budget last year, (then we see if) we should do better.
On taxes, Mthuli promised an early Christmas present for workers as the tax-free threshold would widen to take into account the current inflation trends. He said the budget was a product of wide consultations with various stakeholders including President Mnangagwa, Parliament committees and the public.
Inevitably, the national budget will also have to carry measures on how the Government plans to deal with the effect of El Niño, inflationary pressures as well as exchange rate instability.
Analysts and economists told Business Weekly recently that the 2024 National Budget played a critical role in shaping the economic landscape and the overall welfare of the population.