By Zvamaida Murwira
Pre-budget consultations for the 2020 National Budget have begun with several of Parliament’s portfolio committees expected to hold meetings with various Government ministries and departments starting today.
This come as Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr John Mangudya is expected to appear before Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Public Accounts to respond to some issues aised by Auditor-General Mrs Mildred Chiri, according to a schedule made available by Parliament.
Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube is expected to table next year’s National Budget later this year and several Government ministries and departments will with effect from today present their 2020 budget estimates to their respective portfolio committees.
In today’s meetings, permanent secretaries for the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development; Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare; Finance and Economic Development; and Information Communication and Technology, Postal and Courier Services are some of the officials that will be interacting with their portfolio committees.
The consultations are expected to run this whole week before Parliament convenes a stakeholders’ meeting comprising experts, ministries and development partners to brainstorm about fiscal measures that Treasury must implement to stimulate economic growth.
The budget consultations come on the back of the Mid-Term Fiscal Policy Review announced by Prof Ncube when he unveiled a supplementary budget.
Consultations would centre on what measures should Government embrace to address economic challenges, notably cash and fuel that have become a perennial feature.
Treasury will have to come up with fiscal measures aimed at arresting price increases which are eroding disposable incomes.
Increases in the price of goods have also led to a steep rise in services such as funeral policies and medical aid, thus further straining workers and eroding the value of the recent salary adjustment for mainly civil servants who got a backdated cost of living adjustment.
Some of the discussions expected in the pre-budget consultation would be on measures aimed at increasing energy generation which has continued to be a thorn in the flesh for industry and domestic users who have been subjected to long periods of load-shedding.
Government is currently holding discussions with energy suppliers in its neighbouring countries to explore ways of resuming power imports
Parliament’s portfolio committees will also have to review Government ministries and departments 100-day cycles to gauge the extent to which they had been adhering to targets.
Fiscal discipline and the need to live within their budget envelop would be some of the issues the portfolio committees will be looking at during their interactions with Government ministries and departments.