Hold govt to account on mega deals, says Mudenda

SPEAKER of Parliament, Jacob Mudenda has urged government to fight inertia, whereby deals worth billions of dollars are signed every time, but not implemented on time or never.


“Let us fight the disease of inertia. We signed an agreement that Zisco should be rehabilitated, the implementation period is anathema to the economic (revival). If Zisco does not arise, the industrialisation in terms of steel trade will not happen,” he said while giving his keynote address at the 2018 pre-budget seminar held in Bulawayo yesterday.

Mudenda said the investor should hastily move onto the ground and implement the deal as soon as possible.

The deal, struck during former President Robert Mugabe’s era, entailed the revival of the Redcliff-based steel-making company by Chinese firm R and F, which would invest $1 billion.

But to date, the deal has not been implemented.

“Let us crack the whip,” Mudenda said.

He said signed deals should not be allowed to stay for more than six months without being implemented.

If it stays longer, it simply means there was no commitment to invest, the Speaker of Parliament added.

Meanwhile, Mudenda said there was need for the country to grow the national budgetary cake through vigorous and assertive efforts in domestic resource mobilisation.

“That can be attained by embracing value addition and beneficiation of our mineral resources and agricultural products. Why export raw minerals such as gold, diamonds and chrome, for example?” he said.

Mudenda said processed minerals could create value accruals six to ten times more of the value of unprocessed minerals.

“We export raw tobacco at an annual value of plus or minus $800 million. Studies have shown that if the same quality of tobacco is value added and beneficiated, the country would realise no less than $6 billion, much more than our consistently $4 billion annual budget,” he said.

“That is why I’m convinced that a diligent resource mobilisation thrust can enable Zimbabwe to craft a $10 billion annual national budget. This would make it possible for government employment costs to come down from the current 97% of the erstwhile approved budget to between 30% and 35%.”

Furthermore, Mudenda said domestic resource mobilisation would make it possible for devolution of power and socio-economic programmes to provinces to make economic sense to the people of Zimbabwe.

“That constitutional 5% of the national budget that must devolve to each province will not be a mirage. In that way, we can indeed realise rapid, equitable and balanced development in Zimbabwe,” he said.

Mudenda said Parliament should nudge the Finance ministry to urgently reform the matrix of the taxation regime on similar lines adopted by Singapore and Rwanda.

“There is need to rapidly move towards digital taxation based on virtual codification of our tax basket. That economic trajectory will guarantee Zimbabwe to attain an upper middle income economy by 2030,” he said.

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