Zim economy expected to grow

Zimbabwe’s economy is expected to grow more than nine percent in the coming year, after more than a decade of mismanagement by the previous ZANU PF government.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti presented the 2012 Budget on Thursday, setting next year’s spending allowance at US$4 billion. The Finance minister said the 2012 budget was “pro-poor” and focused on empowering youths and women.

Biti increased the income tax threshold to US$250 with effect from January 1, while the tax-free bonus threshold was moved to US$700, in an effort to cushion workers in a still volatile economic situation. He also explained that State employment costs stand at 63% which goes towards civil servants salaries.

The big winners in the budget are the Education and Health departments each getting more than 10% of the total Budget. Education has been allocated more than US$700 million, with US$27 million for education infrastructure. Health meanwhile has been allocated US$63 million for infrastructure and maternal health care has been given a US$445 million boost.

Biti also said that US$800 million has been set aside for Capital Development Projects, while only US$39 million will be allocated to water and sanitation. He has also set aside US$220 million for agriculture, but admitted about US$2 billion is needed for the sector.

The Budget presentation meanwhile pointed to the fact that Zimbabweans are starting to embrace the social media culture, which all but drove the people’s revolutions in North Africa and the Middle East. Details of the Budget were ‘tweeted’ live by different Zimbabweans, as it was being presented. Other Zimbabweans also took to Twitter and Facebook to express their thoughts on the Budget, as it was happening. – SW Radio Africa News

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