Zimbabwe tables US$5bn budget, with focus on tourism, mining, agriculture

HARARE – Zimbabwe has hinged its budget on a good agricultural season, increased mining revenue and a stable currency.

The country’s finance and economic development minister Prof Mthuli Ncube on Thursday presented his 2021 national budget, which he believes will work if these criteria are met.

He is also pinning hopes on a tourism recovery, which will depend on the Covid-19 pandemic not worsening.

As such, the 2021 budget has an “expenditure ceiling of ZW$421.6bn [US$5.08bn, or R77.33bn]”, he said.

Development partners were expected to lend or give the country a total of US$841.5m (R12.81bn), of which $282.1m (R4.29bn) would come from multilateral partners.

Ncube is projecting a 7.4% overall GDP growth, with year-on-year inflation by the end of 2021 reaching 9%.

These are some of the highlights of the budget:

  • ZW$46.3bn will be allocated to agriculture with the hope of growing the sector to a US$8.2bn (R124.83bn) industry;
  • The ministry of transport will receive ZW$30.1bn for infrastructure development, with dualisation of the Harare-Beitbridge highway to be allocated ZW$19bn;
  • A post-Covid recovery plan for the tourism sector will take up ZW$1.8bn;
  • Zimbabwe’s water sources countrywide are in an appalling state and Ncube resolved to allocate ZW$10.7bn — while an additional ZW$3.9bn will be set aside to deal with water issues;
  • The ministry of information technology has been allocated ZW$2bn as the country attempts integration into the digital revolution;
  • Local authorities and provincial councils will get ZW$19.5bn proposed for devolution. While the ministry of local government walks away with ZW$10.1bn;
  • The ministry of health will be allocated a staggering ZW$54.7bn, largely driven by how Covid-19 has exposed how badly the sector has been funded, and how poor its infrastructure and equipment is;
  • Higher education will receive ZW$14.4bn; and
  • The security sector, namely defence, will get ZW$23.8bn while the police under home affairs receive ZW$23.6bn.

The government has proposed a ban on the importation of second-hand motor vehicles aged 10 years and more.

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