Budget heads up welcomed

biti_finance_missingMUTARE Residents here have welcomed the move by Finance Minister Tendai Biti (Pctured) to consult them on the forthcoming 2011 country's budget making process.

Last week on Wednesday, local business community, civil servants and residents attended the country’s first 2011 National Budget Consultative meeting which was convened by Ministry of Finance.

Addressing the gathering, Biti said his ministry was going round the country to get views from members of the public that will be included in the 2011 national budget. He said for the first time in the history of this country, his ministry was democratizing the budget making process, saying the past experience has indicated that top down approach which was used had never produced results for the country.

“The top -down approach has never worked in this country because the executive ended imposing ideas on people, “he said. “The people budget must be credible and relates to people’s desire’s and wishes. A farmer in Mahenye communal lands must find his voice in the country’s national budget”.

The minister also told the gathering that the country’s budget should at least represent proximate answer to people’s aspirations. He said since the formation of the inclusive government the country’s economy has been facing some challenges such as lack of fiscus space, lack of capital in form of lines of credit, budgetary support from international

donors and overhanging debt to international and local money lenders.

He said the country is grappling with US$7, 8 billion debts to international money institutes and US$1.1 billion in domestic debts. “As we discuss lets be realistic with what is on the ground. The country has no money. Even the Chiadzwa diamond sales did not prove to be an Eldorado as we were thinking. Government got a paltry US$15 million and we don’t have leverage to transform the economy to the extent we want, “said Biti.

He also said Zimbabwe was a poor country with is a third smallest economy in the Southern Africa region. Local industrialists requested that the minister impose heavy duty on all cheap imports to protect the local industry.

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