Govt to Present Revised Budget

GOVERNMENT will soon present a revised Budget to cater for new ministries under the soon-to-be formed inclusive government.


Acting Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa last week tabled the national Budget in parliament that did not have votes for the new ministries.

According to the US$1,9 billion budget, government expenditure would cover 25 cabinet portfolios in contrast to the 31 ministries agreed in the September 15 power sharing deal between President Robert Mugabe and leaders of the MDC formations — Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara.

Ministries excluded from the Budget statement include Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs; Economic Planning and Investment Promotion and Information Communication Technology.

Under the proposed vote allocations, President Robert Mugabe, who will lead the inclusive government, will receive an annual salary of US$20 800 including allowances.  

In total, US$38,4 million was allocated to cabinet and the Office of the President, which includes intelligence services.

This amount will also account for salaries of Mugabe’s two deputies Joseph Msika and Joice Mujuru who will retain their posts in the power-sharing government. The Health ministry, according to government figures, will receive US$284 million amid an outbreak of the cholera and serious shortages of drugs compounded by obsolete equipment.

The Education ministry, which is currently faced by a prolonged strike by teachers over remuneration, was allocated over US$206 million, followed by the Defence ministry with over $140 million. The contentions Home Affairs ministry, which threatened to break talks on the new government formation, is expected to get over US$125 million from the fiscus.

 
However, these vote appropriations also excluded the prime minister’s office, which means that last Thursday’s budget statement would be revised after prime minister designate Morgan Tsvangirai takes the oath of office on February 11.

Sources said last week’s Budget presentation, which received jeering and heckling from opposition legislators, was a politicking gimmick by Zanu PF aimed at persuading the MDC into joining the inclusive governments after months of political bickering.

Political analysts, however, contend that the current Zanu PF government announced the Budget in anticipation of an opposition pullout from the unity government talks.

BY BERNARD MPOFU