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Zimbabwe’s government to present budget amid dire economic conditions


Zimbabwe’s government to present budget amid dire economic conditions

zimbabwe budget
Photo: Reuters/Philimon Bulawayo

Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube will deliver his government’s 2020 budget before parliament today.

Zimbabwe’s economy is in dire straits. Inflation is running at over 350% and rising, while the economy is expected to contract by up to 7% this year. Consequently, a third of Zimbabweans will need food aid next year according to the UN, while much of the country is without power for up to 18 hours a day.

The crisis has been compounded by a severe drought that has restricted productivity in agriculture, industry and mining. Today’s budget will be premised on the assumption that the drought will ease next year and projects growth to rebound to over 4%. However, decades of mismanagement are primarily responsible for Zimbabwe’s economic malaise and with no reforms expected, this figure is optimistic.

Regardless, even if the government’s forecast is realised, Zimbabweans are unlikely to reap the benefits of today’s budget; most funds are expected to go to the country’s security forces.

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If economic conditions do not improve, public discontent will naturally rise. However, the likelihood of forced political change depends on whether the government can keep the security apparatus happy. Today’s disproportionate budget allocation will help that endeavour but may not be enough if the rank-and-file begins being hit by hardship.

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