Zimbabwe finance chiefs grilled by opposition legislators


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Zimbabwe Finance minister Mthuli Ncube and Reserve Bank governor John Mangudya were in the firing line this week as opposition legislators took them to task about their roles and decisions in trying to kickstart the economy.

At the 2020 prebudget seminar held at Victoria Falls, legislators emphasised the need to direct more financial resources towards health, education, agriculture, manufacturing, mining and infrastructure.

The MDC Alliance’s Lilian Timveos, of the Midlands province, said Ncube was out of touch with reality as he was failing to create jobs, fight corruption and hunt illgotten wealth.

“The pace you are running this economy at is not at a point of yielding any jobs,” she said.

“People are suffering, yet when someone is caught stealing money there is no statutory instrument which stipulates they return that money. Some people have helicopters, huge properties. Why are you are not targeting them? You look at the informal sector that sells goods not of value like vegetables and you say you want to go after them on top of the 2% being taxed from them.

“How are you going to manage the doctors to at least give them a decent salary to save lives? Minister, you cannot say you are handling the national purse well and I am sorry to say you have really done a bad job.”

The MDC Alliance’s Tapiwa Mashakada, of Hatfield constituency in Harare, said austerity without growth was bad for the country.

“People are dying in hospitals due to a lack of drugs and hunger. I expected you to address that because it doesn’t have to be austerity alone without growth,” he said.

But Ncube defended his performance by giving figures on his attempts to feed the hungry.

“We are currently feeding 1million rural households and an additional 2.5million people in the urban areas. We are also doing cash transfers to these vulnerable individuals and their families, so I can assure you that every week it’s one of the first agendas in the cabinet as to how many people were fed that week,” he said.

Mashakada also asked why Ncube and Mangudya opposed market forces towards dollarisation as other legislators bemoaned the government’s policy inconsistencies.

“The economy is redollarising as we must not ignore what’s happening on the market,” said Mashakada.

“Let’s have a conversation of why people continue to dollarise. Their mindset has dollarised and we don’t know how this budget will inspire confidence when people’s minds have changed.”

Ncube told legislators that politics was harming the economy.

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The Insider

The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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