Budget, monetary policy up for review — Mutambara

ZIMBABWE – DEPUTY Prime Minister Professor Arthur Mutambara has advised business to disregard the fiscal and monetary policies recently enunciated by then Acting Finance Minister Senator Patrick Chinamasa and Reserve Bank Governor Dr Gideon Gono respectively, stressing that fundamental changes to the two key economic frameworks would be made soon.\r\n

Speaking at the Chief Executives Roundtable held in Harare yesterday, Prof Mutambara said business needed to be guided accordingly.

"Don’t base your planning on (Sen) Chinamasa’s (National Budget) or (Dr) Gono’s (monetary policy) statements. There will be fundamental reviews on these," he told the meeting.

He did not shed light on the proposed changes, but stressed that the inclusive Government was now redefining the role of Government viz-a-viz the creation of an enabling business environment.

On Tuesday, the Minister of Finance Mr Tendai Biti, also intimated that adjustments would be made to the US$1,9 billion National Budget.

Sen Chinamasa had projected a positive economic growth rate of 2 percent and double-digit inflation by the end of the year.

RBZ Governor Dr Gono presented his monetary policy statement early this month, which further liberalised the economy.

Business leaders who attended the meeting yesterday emphasised the need for policy consistency as the hallmark for instilling confidence in the economy.

Policy shifts, they warned, would be detrimental to economic recovery.

Prof Mutambara stressed the need for the private sector to engage in infrastructural development projects such as building road networks that would enable Zimbabwe to take advantage of its strategic position in the region.

"Let’s take advantage of our geography."

In his keynote address, Prime Minister Mr Morgan Tsvangirai challenged business to put the long-term prosperity of society ahead of "instant gratification of dividends and capital appreciation".

He said corruption would not be tolerated in the economy and those that indulged in the malpractice would be prosecuted.

"As the business community you must commit to joining with us to rebuild our society and our economy.

"You cannot choose the aspects of the old way which you feel may be beneficial to you personally and still hope to benefit from the new measures we are implementing," he said.

He, however, bemoaned the massive skills flight in Government which he said, constrained efforts to revive the economy.

"The Ministry of Public Works is supposed to have 60 structural engineers, but they only have two. The Ministry of Mines has just told me there are 96 posts, but they only have 20 people including those who make tea.

"How do you effectively discharge your mandate with such limited resources?" Herald