Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa will today present the national budget for 2017. On the back of the introduction of bond notes into the economy, the minister will be looking to reassure investors and members of the civil service that 2017 will be a year of good economic yield. Financial experts have predicted that the national budget will most likely stay below the $4.5 billion dollar mark. Since Zimbabwe adopted the USD as its currency, the national budget has not surpassed the $4 billion mark. Earlier this year, it was revealed that the civil service was using up 97% of government’s revenue and with government not showing any signs of increased revenue, interested stake holders will be keen to hear what the finance minister proposes as a measure to ensure that government revenue increases or civil service doesn’t use up as much of the government’s revenue as it is now.
Citizens will also be looking to hear the stance of the ministry of Finance concerning bond notes and how they fit into the financial sector of the country. Civil servants have already said they will accept their bonuses in bond notes, if the government ensures that the surrogate currency doesn’t further ruin her country’s already fragile economy. (Financial Gazette, 8 December 2016). However, Minister Chinamasa had suggested scrapping the civil service’s bonuses for 2016 because the government had already run a deficit of over $600 million. If government hasn’t found other ways to generate revenue, paying bonuses to the civil service could increase the deficit to well over $1 billion. Members of the public are also afraid that government, in its desperation to pay the bonuses will print more bond notes surpassing the $200 million ceiling which the export incentive set on the notes. All sectors of Zimbabwe’s economy will have to wait until Minister Chinamasa presents his 2017 budget this afternoon for all the answers.