Mthuli should be kept in check: Analysts

Albert Chavhunduka

Economic analysts have warned that lack of transparency and poor management of public coffers will continue to weigh down on taxpayers and the country’s economy.

The analysts were responding to government’s over expenditure between the years 2019 and 2020, wherein the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development overspent by more than ZWL100 million.

Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube recently appealed to the National Assembly condonation for the unauthorised expenditure amounting to ZW$6.8 billion for 2019 and ZW$100.7 billion for the year 2020 through the Financial Adjustment Bill 2022.

The revelations have, however, been seen by analysts to be exposing that government has been on a spending spree of unparalleled extent despite the multiple claims of budget surplus by the Finance Minister.

Speaking to Review & Mail, economic analyst Vince Musewe urged government to respect the rules of parliament and be transparent in the manner national finances were being utilised saying if this was left unchecked, it would set a bad precedence for the country’s economy.

“There is nothing new here, this has happened before where government disrespects parliamentary rules with regard to the budget. In fact, our parliament is very weak in challenging this practice,” said Musewe.

“They protest but ultimately go with the flow as if nothing has happened. Precedent has already been set and sadly there is no transparency when it comes to expenditures incurred outside the approved budget.

“The loud and clear message is that the Ministry of Finance does what it wants then seeks post approvals as a matter of procedure only and not as a matter of principle and transparency.”

Another analyst, Prosper Chitambara expressed concern over government’s over expenditure which he said needed to be corrected as a matter of urgency.

“What the minister should be doing is to come up with supplementary budgets and at least over expenditures approved by parliament in the right way. So I think it’s not right and something needs to be corrected. Last time, the minister was even saying there is no need for a supplementary budget, so in the future it’s important for him to not seek for condonation after they have already overspent,” he said.

Professor Gift Mugano weighed in and called for the immediate resignation of the Finance Minister who he accused of acting like a “monopoly” and making his own decisions without parliament’s approval.

 “He became a monopoly and centre of power to make decisions without parliament’s support and permission; without even the permission of the President for that matter. Mthuli Ncube should be brought before parliament to answer to the people of Zimbabwe. Who gave him the authority to spend outside the means, provision and approved budget signed by the President?,” said Professor Mugano.

“In fact, he should be fired by the President for doing this and he lied under oath about making surpluses and he came before parliament and presented budgets and said he doesn’t want a supplementary budget but he had to go and make his own decisions.

“It has been an argument for the past four years which we had and these are now the chickens coming home to roost now. This is the reality on the ground, we have seen people in extreme poverty and this is all happening because of inflation.”

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