“I can see the light”, Mthuli Ncube tells Zimbabwe Senate


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It is important that as a House, as Government, we must separate issues around simple economic review, budget review from a request for additional funding through a supplementary budget.  That is prudent, it is consistent with global practice of that separation, and in line with the open budget requirements and that is what I did.  You would have noticed that we moved up in world rankings in terms of our transparency and execution of the budget.  We want to maintain that record and I must thank this august House for the work that you do in preparation for the Budget when we do the retreat, that is a very important process in the budgetary process.  So is this process now, in terms of reporting back as to how we are doing on the budget.

So, I want again to just reaffirm that we have not changed course, with or without COVID, our focus is on productivity, growing our economy, job creation, improving competitiveness and we make every effort to drive shared growth so that no one is left behind.  I also want to say that we are committed to our target in terms of the budget deficit.  We said expenditure is about $63 billion and our revenues we are about $58 billion and then our budget deficit was the order of $5 billion, which is one and half percent of the GDP. That is our target in terms of fiscal discipline.

I must say we have suffered some shocks.  I do not know an economy that has gone through a cyclone, not just one but two.  I do not know and economy that has been hit by drought, which not only has impacted agriculture, but also impacted the production of electricity causing power outrages.  Also like every other economy, we have been hit by the COVID crisis.  So we have had four crises within a space of 18 months, but we are still standing.  I am hopeful, optimistic and please join me in that optimism – the future is bright.  I have no doubt about that.

Now, let me say something about COVID.  You see Madam President, COVID impacts our economy through various channels.  So, it is through the global supply chain disruption which is impacting our manufacturing sector so we expect industry to show some negative growth this year of 10%.  It also impacts our mining sector, although I must say we have been lucky – some minerals are doing very well like for instance what we call the PGMs group, the diamond sector and the coal sector.  By the way Madam President, I must say, I encourage all of you to visit Hwange and witness for yourselves the growth of the hydrocarbon sector, the growth of the coal sector in this country, it is a miracle.

So, we have seen growth in that sector in the first half of the year of the order of 16% and it is growing.  It is also growing foreign direct investment.  So the mining sector remains our largest foreign currency earner.  Sixty percent of the earnings are from the mining sector and it is expected to even overtake agriculture as the main contributor to the economy.  It is currently at 8%.  We think it will grow above that if the space is maintained but some sub-sectors within that have not done as well.  Let us take the gold sector for example.  The gold price has gone up because that is a refuge point when in times of crisis because of the COVID-19 crisis, but the deliveries at Fidelity have dropped and that has to do with various things like matsotsi who are taking gold out and all manner of things.

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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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