Africa Moyo, Harare Bureau
Cabinet yesterday received the 2020 proposed Budget Strategy Paper that was presented by Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube.
This was said by Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister, Professor Amon Murwira while briefing journalists in Harare after yesterday’s Cabinet meeting.
Prof Murwira was representing Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa.
“Cabinet received the 2020 proposed Budget Strategy Paper as presented by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development,” he said.
“The Minister (Prof Ncube)’s presentation took note of the ongoing reforms which are premised on the 2019 national Budget theme — Austerity for Prosperity as outlined in the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP).
“Notable milestones in this regard include fiscal consolidation, monetary policy restoration, liberalisation of the foreign exchange market, re-engagement and a number of governance and structural reforms aimed at improving the business environment and to support the productive sectors.”
Prof Murwira said the reforms present a “firm pedestal” for the rebound of the country’s economy from next year and beyond. The 2020 Budget Strategy Paper is premised on the understanding that the austerity phase of the reforms will be over by the end of the year, thereby ushering in the era of economic growth and productivity.
Prof Murwira said the Strategy Paper took note of the fact that this year, the economy faced “severe exogenous shocks” arising from the El Nino-induced drought and Cyclone Idai, which constrained agricultural activities and electricity generation, bringing about general underperformance of the economy.
Government projects the economy to grow by 4,6 percent next year.
Further, price increases which currently present a major challenge are expected to stabilise on the back of continued implementation of fiscal and monetary reforms, supported by structural and supply side measures.
Prof Murwira said the 2020 National Budget will seek to consolidate the macro-fiscal stabilisation gains secured in 2019.
“However, the strategic focus of the Budget thrust will now be anchored on the following objectives: growth and productivity; job creation; competitiveness; and promotion of more sustained and shared development.
“Also of importance is the need for a more comprehensive and well-coordinated approach to the implementation of the country’s debt arrears clearance programme,” said Prof Murwira.
He added that going forward, Government’s borrowing programme shall be coordinated in order to align the country’s re-engagement to the international financial institutions’ lending policies.
“In this regard, completion of the Staff Monitored Programme will be accorded top priority,” said Prof Murwira.