Biti says Zimbabwe is suffering from fiscalitis- “tinodya mari semushonga womusana”


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Former Finance Minister Tendai Biti, under whose watch Zimbabwe’s economy recovered from the hyperinflation of 2008, said yesterday Zimbabwe was suffering from a disease he called fiscalitis.

Debating a motion in which the Movement for Democratic Change proposed an alternative programme to revive the country’s economy, Biti said: “We spend money as if it grows on trees and I always argue that there is a disease in this country called, fiscalitis.

“Fiscalitis is the disease when you just spend and spend and spend and like we say at rallies, ‘tinodya mari semushonga wemusana’, and this is the scourge of the budget deficit.”

He said there was no problem per se with having a budget deficit but it depended on what the money was spent on.

“Most countries, including the United States of America run budget deficits, so the challenge is not budget deficit but is twofold,” he said.

“First, what are you putting the resources to?  The challenge with our deficit is that we have been implementing deficit economics for consumption.  So we have been creating budget deficits to hire luxury jets, buy cars, bribe the population in elections and have not been building schools, dams, roads and power stations….”

Biti tried several times to say one of the biggest problems Zimbabwe was facing was that of legitimacy but he was thwarted every time.

Below is his full contribution:

HON. BITI:  Thank you Hon. Speaker.  I rise to second the motion by Hon. Dr. Mashakada on the state of the economy.  I would like to thank him for a very comprehensive submission before this honourable House.

Hon. Speaker Sir, the economy is in a serious state of malaise.  Our economy has been battered by years and years of self induced policy distortions.  The economy reflects the state of Zimbabwe.  The State is broken, vulnerable and fragile.  There are structural challenges – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –  Mr. Speaker Sir – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –  Madam Speaker Sir – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –  Madam Speaker….

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  It is alright.

HON. BITI: Although I will speak on the economy…

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Go ahead.

HON. BITI: Madam Speaker, although I will speak on the economy, I need to make it very clear that the challenges that we are facing in the economy are inextricably linked to our politics – [HON. MEMBERS: Yes!] – and that the economy is just a mirror or reflection of the challenges of legitimacy, the challenges which we are facing –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – in the body politics.

Madam Speaker, you can rig an election but you cannot rig an economy – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – [AN HON. MEMBER: Gara pasi!] –

Continued next page

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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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  1. Biti is soo forgetful, it’s not fiscalitis, its you and Chamisa who went to the US and asked Trump not to remove Zidera. You are not a stateman, rather you are cut the best opportunist. You think if Zimbabwean suffer then they will vote Zanu Pf out. Why don’t you start by revisiting trump and ask him to reverse Zidera. It’s all about you and Chamisa being in power. It’s not about us as Zimbabweans. Prove you are a better politician.