Background and Context

This budget brief was prepared by the Education Coalition of Zimbabwe (ECOZI) to unpack and review Vote 15 (Primary and Secondary Education) of the projected 2021 national budget. The analysis sought to review the budgetary allocation to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education (MoPSE) with focus on the extent to which the MoPSE’s six programs as provided for under the program-based budgeting are addressed. This analysis also reviews the nonsalary expenditure versus employment costs; a comparison of MoPSE’s allocation to other ministries; and also analyses education financing trends over time both as a percentage of the GDP and also as a share of the national budget and discusses the implications of these trends to the MoPSE’s six programmatic areas. The brief also discusses Key Monitoring Areas and recommendations for Policy.

General Overview of the Proposed 2021 Budget

  • The macro-fiscal framework behind the budget is based on optimistic assumptions about growth and debatable assumptions on exchange rate developments. The economy is expected to grow by 7.4% in 2021, which is a rebound from the current negative growth. The growth is however optimistic given the resurgence of COVID-19 cases, both locally and globally, which will likely continue to suppress demand amid continued high inflation and foreign currency shortages.
  • 2021 projected annual inflation is about 135% yet the exchange rate is anticipated to appreciate. This shows inconsistencies in the projections.
  • Revenue is expected to improve due to a widened tax base, excises, and fees in US dollars (fuel, tobacco) as well as new taxes (cannabis levy and presumptive USD tax on informal operators). Overall, revenues are anticipated to increase by 64% in 2021.
  • While the 2020 budget had targeted reduced wage expenditure for primary and secondary education (43.6%), a look at the 2020 unaudited expenditure to September shows that the education wage bill accounted for about 88.4% as of September 2020. The 2021 budget has allocated ZWL$40, 410 billion towards employment costs (about 73.1%) which is a notable increase in non-wage expenditure compared with the earlier highlighted 88.4% in 2020 and 94% in the 2019 budget.
  • In comparison to the previous years (though 19.7% was projected for 2020), capital expenditure has a notable slight increase to about 9.8% of total education allocation. Over the past years, the MoPSE’s budget barely had extra resources to spend on capital expenditure and other non-salary expenses.
  • While Primary and Secondary Education had maintained the lead between 2013 – 2018, the years 2019 and 2020 saw the Ministry dropping to second in terms of budgetary allocations with the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands moving to the number one slot.
  • For 2021, Primary and Secondary Education has received a total allocation of ZWL$ 55, 221 billion, about 13.09% of the total national budget.
  • The last 2 years have seen a decline in the education allocation as a share of the total budget with education receiving 11.04% of the total budget share in 2018, 14.51% in 2019, and 13.39% in 2020, about a 1.19 percentage point decrease. The 2021 budget presents a further decline to 13.09%, which is a 0.31 percentage point decrease from the 2020 budget.
  • The 2021 allocation has dropped to lower than the Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) average government spending on primary and secondary education, which currently stands at 16.5% of the national budgets.

Read the full overview here (8MB PDF)

Source: Education Coalition of Zimbabwe (ECOZI)