The government needs to allocate more resources to social spending to cushion marginalised groups of the economy as the 4.2% allocation is inadequate, a social justice group Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) says.
The civil society organisation recommends the government to be cautious in addressing fundamentals to do with national currency as various social groups suffer from price hikes.
“Whilst the government reported a budget surplus, only 4.2% was disbursed towards social service delivery during the first quarter of 2019. Only RTGS$12 million was disbursed towards education, RTGS$33.9 million towards public health whilst RTGS$16.5 million was disbursed towards social protection programmes such as BEAM, Harmonised Social Cash Transfer, drought mitigation and sustainable livelihoods.”the CSO says.
“The amount allocated towards social service delivery is far less than RTGS$93 million (6.2% of the total expenditure) allocated towards settlement of domestic debt.”
ZIMCODD also says the existing social and infrastructure gaps in Zimbabwe do not mirror a budget surplus.
Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube during a state of the economy address revealed that the country’s Treasury recorded a surplus of $146 million in the first quarter of 2019.
“As the country pursues the devolution agenda as outlined in the 2019 national budget in which US$310 million was allocated towards the devolution programme a meagre RTGS$42 has been disbursed to Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing for the devolution programmes under various provinces and districts,” the CSO says.
Zimbabwe’s infrastructure still lags behind on infrastructure development and infrastructure allocation is at 1% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) according to the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) president, Tamuka Macheka.
“There is lack of trust between the government and the citizens and hence putting in place temporary measures such as the adoption of the South African rand in order to address the macroeconomic distortions and the parallel market exchange rates which are the major drivers of price hikes,” the CSO says.”This will support capacity utilisation pending it’s the introduction of own currency.”