The constitution’s finance issues

The new constitution contains several important principles relating to the management of public finances. Above all, the new supreme law of the land states that there must be transparency and accountability in financial matters. It calls for the burden of taxation to be shared fairly and for revenue raised nationally to be shared equitably between central, provincial and local government.

The constitution also says that public borrowing and all transactions involving the national debt must be carried out transparently and in the best interests of the nation. Zimbabwe’s national debt is currently at 80 percent of GDP and is hindering the country from accessing new credit from multilateral organisations.

Parliament will have oversight of state revenues and expenditures. In that regard, Parliament will monitor and oversee expenditure by the state and all commissions, institutions and agencies of government at every level to ensure that all expenditure has been properly incurred and that any limits and conditions have been observed.

There will be an Act of Parliament to set limits on borrowings by the state as well as on debts and obligations whose payment or repayment is guaranteed by the state. Those limits cannot be exceeded without the authority of the National Assembly. An Act of Parliament must also prescribe the terms and conditions under which the government may guarantee loans.

The Minister of Finance must report to Parliament at least twice a year on the performance of loans and must table in Parliament a comprehensive statement of the public debt of Zimbabwe together with estimates of revenue and expenditure.

Under the new constitution, there is a Consolidated Revenue Fund into which must be paid all fees, taxes and borrowings and all other revenues of the government, whatever their source.

There will be an Auditor-General, whose office is a public office but does not form part of the Civil Service. Her/his duties will include auditing the accounts, financial systems and financial management of government agencies, departments, councils and local authorities.

An Act of Parliament will prescribe procedures for the procurement of goods and services by the state and by all institutions and agencies of government at every level, so that procurement is effected in a manner that is transparent, fair, honest, cost-effective and competitive.

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