Civil society has commended Government for improved fiscal transparency since the Second Republic came into power.
Latest International Budget Partnership rankings place Zimbabwe in third position in Africa on budget transparency, something the civil society sees as a step in the right direction towards enhancing transparency and accountability in public finance management.
On an international level, the country is ranked 41 out of 120 economies.
Among factors considered are consultations in budget processes as well as the publication of a Budget Strategy Paper.
This comes as the Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube recently presented the 2022 Mid-term Budget and Economic Review which came at a time the country is battling foreign currency volatility with the local currency depreciating against the US dollar and rampant price inflation which is eroding real incomes and reduced consumer spending.
“We have seen the Government publicising more budget documents, producing a citizen version of the budget, and releasing the 2022 Budget Strategy Paper on time.
“While there are notable improvements in budget processes, there remain some areas for further improvement which include increased public awareness and participation in the budget-making process, decentralisation of venues for these consultative meetings, and increased uptake of the public’s wishes and aspirations, and wide dissemination of all relevant budget information,” said the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) in their review of the economy and the recently released 2022 Mid-Term Budget.
The civil society organisation however, called on Treasury to also improve on budget expenditure transparency and ensure that line ministries and local authorities strictly comply with audit findings by Supreme Audit Institutions.
The supplementary budget was the first by the Treasury since the Second Republic took over the reins of the country in 2018.
Among the major highlights, the Treasury requested additional spending of $929,3 billion on top of the initial 2022 approved budget of $968,3 billion putting spending projections for the 2022 fiscal year at $1,9 trillion.
ZIMCODD said while a supplementary budget was inevitable given the depreciation of the local currency significantly eroded the real value of the 2022 approved budget the Mid-term budget and Economic Review failed to address the public’s expectations of some bold measures to cushion vulnerable groups, strengthen the local currency and subdue chronic price inflation.
“The minister missed an opportunity to adequately address key concerns around food security and climate change, especially as we face the next farming season.
“This is at a time when we are set to import maize when local producers are not being compensated well. The country then loses in forex which could be used to fairly compensate local producers,” said ZIMCODD.