Africa 9.9.2016 11:21 am

Cash-strapped Zim asks for citizens’ views ahead of budget

FILE PICTURES: South African aid organisation Gift of the Givers is seen delivering much needed support in the form of food, blankets, clothes and hygiene packs to the Chingwizi transit camp in Zimbabwe this week, 21 March 2014 where over 20 000 people are now living after being affected by flooding in the Tokwe-Mukosi dam basin. Picture:Ihsaan Haffejee

FILE PICTURES: South African aid organisation Gift of the Givers is seen delivering much needed support in the form of food, blankets, clothes and hygiene packs to the Chingwizi transit camp in Zimbabwe this week, 21 March 2014 where over 20 000 people are now living after being affected by flooding in the Tokwe-Mukosi dam basin. Picture:Ihsaan Haffejee

The consultations come amid a deepening economic crisis that has seen the government struggle to pay civil servant salaries.

Cash-strapped Zimbabwe on Friday said it would hold consultations with citizens ahead of next year’s budget.

The National Assembly’s Portfolio Committee on Finance and Economic Development said in a statement that it will be conducting Parliament’s 2017 National Budget Consultations at public hearings in various centres around Zimbabwe from Monday.

“The objective of these public consultative hearings is to engender a participatory budget framework based on a bottom-up approach in line with the provisions of the Public Finance Management Act and the constitution, which are aimed at broadening the democratic space in economic governance,” said the committee.

“All stakeholders are urged to make use of the opportunity provided by these hearings to meaningfully participate in the 2017 National Budget formulation process.”

The consultations will continue until Saturday 17, September. Committee members will divide into two teams for the hearings.

“Team A will hold hearings in Mutare, Rusape, Marondera, Murewa, Harare, Mvurwi, Bindura, Chinhoyi, Kariba,” said the committee.

“Team B will hold hearings in Masvingo, Mwenezi, Beitbridge, Gwanda, Bulawayo, Lupane, Victoria Falls, Gweru, Redcliff.”

The consultations come amid a deepening economic crisis that has seen the government struggle to pay civil servant salaries.

On Friday, the state-owned Herald reported that the government was going to cut 25 000 jobs from its bloated civil service. Government salaries take up a whopping 96.8% of the annual budget.

Presenting the mid-term budget to parliament on Thursday, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa said: “The outlook, based on the status quo, points to a situation where projected revenues fall short of meeting employment costs, leaving no room for expenditure on operations and maintenance, as well as capital projects.”

Chinamasa blamed the cash shortage, regional drought and investment shortfalls for Zimbabwe’s worsening economic woes.

– African News Agency (ANA)

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