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‘Upper Middle-Income Economy A Utopian Idea’

Debt and development advocacy group, the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) says the realization of upper middle-income economy by 2030 will remain unrealistic as long as the budget implementation context has not been addressed.

In a synopsis of the 2023 national budget, ZIMCODD said there is need to follow practical public finance management procedures.

“Resource leakages manifest in different dimensions such as tenderpreneurship, economies of affection, tax avoidance and invasion as well as Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) perpetuated by dismantled fiscal mining regimes. The abuse of public resources has also been rampant in the public sector with the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) flagging and unearthing corruption, embezzlement of funds and over expenditures which disregard value for money and the rudimentary principles of public finance management.

“Therefore, this stands to reason that as long as the budget implementation context has not been addressed, every budget that comes will keep encountering the same challenges. An upper middle-class economy by 2030 will remain a fairy-tale, a utopian idea whose manifestation time will not come. To redress this, there is need to ensure that detects of prudent public finance management outlined in Public Finance Management Act [Chapter 22:19] are followed religiously,” said ZIMCODD.

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The coalition called for the fulfilment of the recommendations made by the Auditor General’s Office while screening of tender process is followed.

“The OAG office recommendations and findings should be acted upon while rigorous tender screening and processes should be practiced. At the same time, curbing IFFs should be government`s primary concern while harnessing the fiscal mining regimes,” said the Coalition.

Meanwhile, while applauding Government’s efforts in fulfilling some international commitments, the coalition expressed reservation on failure to fulfil other critical commitments.

“ZIMCODD commends government efforts in fulfilling international commitments such as the Water and Sanitation which satisfied the 1.5% Ethekwini Declaration of 2008. However, it would have been more prudent if the budget had satisfied other international commitments such as Education [20% Dakar Declaration (2000)], Health [15% Abuja Declaration (2001)], Transport and Infrastructure [9.6 AU Declaration (2009)], Agriculture [10% Maputo Declaration (2003)] and Social Protection [4.5% Social Policy for Africa],” the Coalition noted.

ZIMCODD suggested that budget expenditures be aligned with the objectives and goals of the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) so as to infuse economic transformation that takes into account human development indices such as disposable income per capita, decent jobs, access to basic social amenities such as health, shelter, education, water, food and clothing.

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