During the past month ZIMCODD has contributed towards the possibility of a pro-poor national budget by raising citizens awareness of budget issues and facilitating robust participation in Parliament’s National Budget Consultative Meetings held throughout the country. Balancing the complex and intersecting expectations of the various stakeholders to the national cake in the context of heavy indebtedness, economic slowdown, pandemic recovery poses a huge challenge for policy makers. Citizens’ broad expectations for a people centered 2022 National Budget reflects the primacy of education, health, agriculture, economic stimulus and democratic reform in citizens’ considerations. Key expectations are summarised here-under:
- Stimulate structural transformation and spark massive job creation through the inclusion of the informal sector, agriculture, and small-scale and artisanal mining in the mainstream economy.
- Provide meaningful economic stimulus packages and financial inclusion targeting the informal sector, smallholder agriculture and small-scale and artisanal mining sectors where the majority of Zimbabweans currently earn their livelihoods.
- Address extreme poverty and inequality through the provision of universal social safety nets and improved service delivery in the education and health sectors, funded through a redistributive Wealth Tax and contributions to the Sovereign Wealth Fund.
- Support State driven infrastructure development to address the gaps in low cost housing; schools and clinics construction; small dam constructions as a means to create new jobs and provide quality and accessible public infrastructure.
- Stabilize macro-economic fundamentals by: Strengthening Public Finance Management (PFM) and extinguishing corruption; reforming the auction foreign exchange market; extinguishing or promoting sustainability of public debt and stemming Illicit financial flows in the mining sector and unjust tax incentives in the mining sector.
Whereas this is not the totality of all budget expectations, it is vital for government to limit the acquisition of debt to finance the growth aspirations of the economy. It is imperative for government to cooperate with development partners to expedite the support of vital services such as health, education and food relief programmes. Also, being accountable remains a key role for government to garner policy support and enable wider stakeholder engagement.