Country headed for Armageddon
FORMER Finance minister and opposition People’s Democratic Party president Tendai Biti has warned that Zimbabwe, under the Zanu PF government, is fast headed for “Armageddon”.
Armageddon being a biblical concept signifying the final destruction of the earth, Biti said Zanu PF’s failure to accept the reality that the country needs serious reforms is clear evidence that the Mugabe’s government is unable to turn around the economy.
“In the period under review, over expenditure was $3, 084 million, with the total budget deficit standing at $623 million and projected to be $1 billion by year end.
“Ironically as expenditure is increasing, revenue projection has been revised downwards from $3, 85 billion to $3, 7 billion,” said Biti this Wednesday reacting to Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa’s mid-term budget review statement presented last week.
He added, “The reality, therefore, is that at a certain stage the government will reach a gridlock, a complete shutdown – technically called insolvency.
“The failure of the government to pay its wages on time and to service its creditors is a teaser of the Armageddon to come.
“The biggest challenge for any Zanu PF government is the failure to live within its means and the assumption that money grows on trees.
“In our estimation, therefore, the budget deficit is at least 30% of the GDP. Any minister presiding over such a mess must resign on his own. If not, he must be fired.”
During his contentious budget review, Minister Chinamasa revealed that government’s wage bill was now consuming 97 percent of total revenues.
Chinamasa wings clipped
He therefore proposed a raft of reforms, including cutting of top civil servants’ salaries (20percent), suspension of bonuses for 2016/17 and the abolition of some diplomatic missions—proposals which have the potential to save the cash-tied country $318 million but government shot-down the proposal.
As preconditions to access IMF and WB loans, government is expected to cut down its wage bill by at least 40 percent and clearance of $1, 8 billion debt arrears.
Biti believes that serious, painful and vicious reforms are required to make Zimbabwe economically attractive to potential investors.
According to him, these include curbing corruption, firing ghost workers on government’s payroll, repealing the Indigenization and Empowerment Act, rule of law, political and electoral reforms, and cutting Mugabe’s frequent overseas travels.
“With Chinamasa’s wings fully clipped, it should now be clear to everyone beyond reasonable doubt that Zimbabwe will never reform under Zanu PF,” said Biti.
“The few in the international community who thought otherwise must now change their message and in some cases messengers to shift attention to the agenda of transition and transformation alongside traditional humanitarian obligations.
“Any policy approach at this late stage based on a belief that the regime can reform and that the economy is the point of entry, will be naïve and foolish.”
The opposition politician reiterated his call for a National Transitional Authority which will, among other things, help create an environment for free and fair elections in Zimbabwe.