HomeLocal NewsChinamasa’s US$6bn budget dream

Chinamasa’s US$6bn budget dream

ALTHOUGH Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa last month only presented a US$4,1 billion national budget, it emerged this week he has made provision to spend around US$6bn, with an ambitious plan to raise an additional US$2bn — about 50% of the budget — from statutory funds and vote of credits.

Chris Muronzi/Wongai Zhangazha

Based on the 2015 3,2% GDP growth projection, Chinamasa expects to collect US$4,1 billion for next year’s budget and this translates to about 28,1% of nominal GDP of US$14,594bn.

Expenditures of US$4,115bn are targeted, resulting in a small deficit of US$15 million in a cash-budget situation.

However, Chinamasa’s big dream, buried behind budget figures presented to parliament this week, is to have a total appropriation of US$4 578 400 000, with statutory funds contributing US$541 503 750 and other funding sources, mainly donors, underwriting US$852 362 781. This means his big fish dream is actually to collect US$5 972 266 531 in total resources.

Although his entire budget appropriation is US$4,6bn, he expects to get about US$6bn in total, taking into account statutory funds and other sources.

Yet Chinamasa is expecting only US$500m to come in as budgetary support.

According to government’s blue book, a total of US$4,6bn will be spent on government ministries and departments in 2015. Chinamasa hopes to raise US$541m from statutory funds and US$852m from other resources.

However, economic analysts say the funds Chinamasa plans to raise are unrealistic given the broken state of the economy and limited sources of additional funding.

Former finance minister Tendai Biti failed to get critical budgetary support from international money lenders and donors during the unity government from 2009-2013, a move which forced him to stop relying on donor support. Chinamasa’s prospects are also equally dim as China has already said it does not give budgetary support.

Of the total budget of US$4,1bn, Chinamasa said US$3,7bn would be spent on recurrent expenditures such as labour costs, meaning an insignificant amount would remain for crucial development projects and service delivery.

Latest details further show government’s skewed spending priorities. For instance, security ministries will gobble US$1bn of the 2015 budget, while little is given to ministries like industry and mines at the heart of the economy. Industry and Commerce got US$23,2m and Mines US$18m.

By comparison, Defence was allocated US$380m, Home Affairs US$485m and Office of the President and Cabinet — which houses the CIO — US$190m.

Although economic ministries — except Agriculture which received US$225m — were allocated paltry sums, social ministries were well-supported. Health was allocated US$377m and Education US$919m.
Lands was allocated US$14m, Public Service US$188,5m, Finance ministry US$219m, Water US$197m, Transport US$289m and Justice US$123m.

Foreign Affairs got US$48m, Local Government US$76m and Higher Education US$427m. Information was allocated US$5,5m, while Higher Education secured US$427m. Tourism got US$2,9m and Sports was given US$6,6m. Women’s Affairs received US$13m. Parliament was allocated US$19,7m.

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