BUSINESS WRITER 22 November 2018
HARARE – The World Bank (WB) says Finance minister Mthuli Ncube, should
announce measures that inspire confidence and support current efforts to
revive the economy when he presents his maiden budget statement today.
Mukami Kariuki, the WB country manager for Zimbabwe said Ncube has already
highlighted key issues that will feature in the national budget such as
fiscal consolidation, as well as strengthening the transitional
“Everything now depends on the budget and we will see how the minister
will be able to incorporate such measures that will be critical to enhance
confidence within the economy,” she said.
Ncube is presenting the 2019 National Budget in Parliament this afternoon
at a time the economic crisis in the country continues to deepen,
characterised by a debilitating liquidity crisis, a severe cash shortage,
rising inflation and skyrocketing of prices and shortage of basic
“I think government is taking steps to try and bring the prices down
through various measures such as opening the local market to imports.
“Government is also engaging private sector and we hope that it will be
able to stabilise the inflationary pressures. This will be aided if the
national budget will be able to inspire confidence and help stabilise the
inflation by assuring the public and private sector on what needs to be
done,” Kariuki said.
The WB boss further indicated that other critical issues that will drive
economic recovery include reducing government expenditure.
Early this month, the government proposed to reduce the civil service and
rationalise foreign service missions in a move aimed at reducing the
country’s high wage bill which currently stands at over 90 percent.
The Finance minister told delegates attending a 2019 Pre-Budget Seminar
held in Bulawayo recently that the country is currently sitting on a 92
percent wage bill and the government is utilising hefty amounts of its
income on salary payment leaving no fiscal space for infrastructure
He said rationalisation of foreign service missions simply means cutting
down of embassies like having one ambassador for three or four
neighbouring countries with one office, a move which will ultimately
result in the lowering of the wage bill.
This will mean that there is likelihood of only one ambassador for
neighbouring countries like South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho who are in
the same “geographical bloc”.
Zimbabwe has more than 20 missions abroad and some legislators have
previously called for the shutting down of some arguing that Harare had no
meaningful business with most countries.