The other thing that is driving inflation is the shortage of goods in the economy. If you create a shortage of goods here, businessmen will take advantage of it. There will be people taking advantage and increasing prices. If you increase the cost of buying foreign exchange to import goods from South Africa or from anywhere else by 60%, you will see inflation. If you bring in regulations which require licences for imports and you bring in exchange control at the Reserve Bank, you will get rent seeking. One of the biggest importers in this country has told me recently he has to buy his import permits from intermediaries. In those circumstances, Mr. Speaker, it is perfectly understandable that we are going to have rapid inflation, and I think that finding a solution to that is not a question of just putting it in the hands of a committee appointed by the ZANU PF Politburo. It is an issue which requires all of our attention.
On the question of completing public sector projects…
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order. Please wind up. Your time is almost up.
HON. CROSS: On the question of Public Sector Projects, Mr. Speaker, when a Public Sector Project is not completed on time.
HON. D. SIBANDA: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker Sir. I propose that we extend the time for the Hon. Member since it is a budget report from the Committee.
HON. MANGAMI: I second.
HON. CROSS: Thank you Mr. Speaker. On the question of public sector projects, when Parliamentarians visit public sector projects around the country, they observe many public sector projects which are being delayed by the failure of Government to provide adequate resources. I think the new police accommodation along Enterprise road is a typical example which remains uncompleted in two years. There are many other examples around the city, but I bring Hon. Member’s attention particularly to the Tokwe-Mukorsi dam which was started in 1998 and only completed last year at a cost of $250 million when the original cost was $57 million. That is the price we pay for delays.
On the question of the national debt, Mr. Speaker, because of the big fiscal deficit we have been running, the national debt on the domestic front has been growing very rapidly and currently stands at about $14 billion overall. This is a continuing problem for Zimbabwe at a time when we can ill afford to incur additional debt, we are building up domestic debts in many different forms very rapidly.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order. Hon. Majome, please take a seat.
HON. CROSS: We were very pleased to see the uncompromising stance which the new Government has taken towards this problem. We just would like to point out to Hon. Members that if you have holes in your bucket and you try and fill it from the top, all you do is put water on the ground. What we are doing right, now because we are not sealing, all the holes that were leaking, we are not making most effective use of our limited resources.
Continued next page