Monday, 5 September 2016

TOUGH TIME FOR CHINAMASA

THE Minister of Finance and Economic Development Cde Patrick Chinamasa will this Thursday present the 2016 Mid-Term National Budget review statement which he said will focus on job rationalisation in the civil service.

The 2016 $4 billion National Budget projected an economic growth rate of 2,7 percent, driven largely by agriculture and mining sectors. There were delays in presenting the mid-term budget review, sparking speculation that the Government had cancelled it.

However, Minister Chinamasa told The Chronicle on Friday in Victoria Falls that the delay in presenting the statement had enabled him, for the first time, to include data for the month of June.

“The Mid-Term Budget Review statement is coming, I will deliver it on Thursday September 8,” said Minister Chinamasa.

He said the process was delayed because of other Government commitments.
“We delayed because of commitments and my unavailability but that helped us in a way because we now have all data for the month of June which is a new thing altogether. All data has been processed and I will present it on Thursday,” he said.
He said the review would, among others things, touch on job rationalisation.
The Government last month froze recruitments and promotions in the civil service as part of a staff rationalisation exercise following an audit by the Public Service Commission (PSC).
Recently, the PSC abolished more than 8 000 posts in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development.

This was meant to reduce the Government’s wage bill which stands at $200 million per month.
Minister Chinamasa said significant savings were being made as a result of the rationalisation process, but he couldn’t be drawn into giving more details saying he will tackle that on Thursday in the budget review.

“Cabinet came up with a rationalisation strategy last year and ratified the decision in June this year. In terms of how much we are saving, yes we have made some savings but I will deal with that in the statement,” he said.

The Minister is also expected to give an update on arrears to multilateral financial institutions with the Government working on strategies to finalise its agreement to repay $1,8 billion it owes to the World Bank, African Development Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Minister Chinamasa said there was no deadline for repayment of the debt as engagements were a continuous process. herald

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