1522: “Let me end by a quote from Author and Behavioural Scientist, Steve Maraboli, “Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient.” Therefore, let’s focus on building resilience and recovery of the economy in the middle of this COVID 19 storm.”
Professor Ncube has concluded his address and that ends our updates.
1521: Mr Speaker Sir, despite the ragging global pandemic, implementation of the NDS1 through the 2021 National Budget remains on course, following a favourable farming season, recovery in manufacturing sector and firming international commodity prices. The COVID-19 response measures, coupled with the vaccination exercise currently underway globally and domestically, continue to give hope to the sustained economic recovery. The fiscal consolidation measures implemented to date have engendered stability in the economy.
“Mr Speaker Sir, let me inform the House that that I only presented economic developments to date and outlook as well as update on the 2021 National Budget implementation progress during the first half of the year. There is need to stay the course. Therefore, there are no policy changes as I believe the existing policies are achieving the desired results and are still adequate. We only need to stay the course, and any substantial policy changes will be introduced through the 2022 National Budget.”
1520: “Mr Speaker Sir, Treasury, in March 2021, resumed quarterly token payments to the Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs), the World Bank Group, the African Development Bank Group and the European Investment Bank.
Token payments are part of the re-engagement process with the International Community in line with the Arrears Clearance & Debt Relief Strategy which is critical in regaining access to concessional financing from both multilateral and bilateral development partners. Payments to Paris Club Creditors will also begin in the second half of 2021.”
1517: “In view of the persistent COVID-19 pandemic, intensive vaccination remains un-avoidable and a long-term solution to save lives and livelihoods utilizing the savings from last year. To date, resources amounting to US$93.2 million have been spent on vaccines alone. Government has set aside US$100 million for vaccines acquisition.
“As at 26 July 2021, grain deliveries by farmers to GMB depots stood at 636 884 tons valued at ZWL$20.9 billion, of which 566 751 tons was for maize, 58 212 tons small grains, 11 260 tons soya beans and 661 tons wheat.
“Going forwards, to ensure timely and efficiency in payment for the procurement of the anticipated deliveries of 1.9 million tons valued at ZWL$62 billion, Government will continue to mobilise resources through various instruments, including purchases by private sector.”
1516: “Capital spending as at 30 June 2021 amounted to ZWL$67.4 billion, against a target of ZWL$58 billion. Government has strengthened monitoring and evaluation of targeted projects in order to guide policy interventions that would upscale project execution.
“Devolution resources facilitated implementation of various projects across the country in areas of health, education, roads, water and sanitation.”
1514: “In the outlook to December 2021, budget expenditure target of ZWL$421.6 billion will be maintained as we try to contain expenditures, save for exigencies managed through reallocations, where necessary. In terms of Votes performance, disbursements to Ministries, Departments and Agencies were generally in line with planned and budgeted programmes and projects, save for unforeseen but essential developments, particularly those meant to save and cushion lives against the pandemic.
“As a result, expenditure on Government programmes during the period under review was 41% of total budget against a half year target of 45%.”
1512: “Overall expenditures during the period January to June 2021 stood at ZWL$197.6 billion, implying expenditures were above the half year target of ZWL$189.8 billion by ZWL$7.8 billion. Major expenditures were on Compensation of Employees at ZWL$80 billion against a target of ZWL$73.8 billion and Non-Financial Assets (capital budget) at ZWL$67.4 billion against a target of ZWL$58 billion.
“Social benefits and subsidies stood at ZWL$14.5 billion and ZWL$2.9 billion, against the half year targets of ZWL$6.1 billion and ZWL$1.4 billion, respectively
1510: “Cumulative revenue collections for the period January to June 2021 amounted to ZW$198.2 billion against a target of ZW$182.1 billion, resulting in a positive variance of ZW$16 billion or 8.8%. This positive performance was attributed to both tax and non-tax revenues, which were above targets by 5.3% and 392%, respectively.
“Total revenue collections also include net cumulative foreign currency collections of US$698.5 million (against a target ofUS$660 million). The major contributing revenue heads were VAT (23%), Corporate Income Tax (20%) and Personal Income Tax (17%).”
1508: “The 2021 National Budget was premised on revenue projections of ZW$390.8 billion (16.4% of GDP) and expenditures of ZWL$421.6 billion (18.2% of GDP) with a targeted budget deficit of ZWL$30.8 billion (-1.3% of GDP). For the period Jan-June 2021, revenues are estimated at ZWL$198.2 billion, whilst expenditures were about ZWL$197.6 billion, resulting in an almost balanced budget position, with a small surplus of ZWL$570 million.
“In the outlook, the budget is anticipated to remain more or less on course assuming limited impact of exigencies and containment of expenditure pressures.”
1506: “Merchandise imports are also projected to increase by 11.1% to US$5 245.7 million in 2021, from US$4 719.9 million in 2020, driven by increases in fuel, machinery and raw material imports. Food imports will, however, be lower on account of reduced maize imports, following a good 2020/21 agricultural season.
“Between January and June 2021, the country received US$746.9 million in diaspora remittances compared to US$288.7 million received during the same period last year. Remittances are projected to continue to drive the current account surplus in 2021, with end year projection of US$1.3 billion.”
1505: “Merchandise exports are projected to increase by 4.2%, from US$4 931.9 million in 2020 to US$5 139.8 million in 2021. Mineral exports are expected to maintain strong growth on account of the continued strong performances in Platinum Group of Metals (PGMs) and recovery in chrome and high carbon ferrochrome exports.”
1503: “The country’s external sector position has remained strong in support of the country’s balance of payments requirements, as well as stabilising the exchange rate. Notwithstanding the transitory current account deficit realized during the first quarter of 2021, the current account balance for 2021 is projected to remain in a surplus position, albeit at a moderated level of US$611.6 million, compared to US$1 096 million recorded in 2020.”
1502: “Mr Speaker Sir, I wish to report to this August House that the banking sector is safe and sound, even under the disruptive impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The banking sector remained adequately capitalized, with aggregate core capital of ZW$64.21 billion as at 31 March 2021, an increase of 20.74%, from ZW$53.18 billion as at 31 December 2020”
1500: “Fiscal and monetary consolidation measures being implemented by Government to date have managed to firmly anchor inflation expectations as shown by a significant decline in inflation from 837.5% in July 2020 to 106.6% in June 2021. The July year-on-year inflation is 56.37% and 2.56% for month-on-month inflation.
“Month-on-month inflation is expected to remain stable at less than 3% during the second half of 2021. Consequently, annual inflation is expected to decline further by end August 2021 and further to between 22% and 35% by December 2021.”
1458: The minister has started his presentation he says: “The domestic GDP growth for the year 2021 is projected to remain strong at 7.8%, slightly above the 2021 National Budget growth forecast of 7.4% . The strong rebound of the economy is anchored on better 2020/21 rainfall season, higher international mineral commodity prices, stable macroeconomic environment and COVID-19 pandemic response measures, including vaccination programme.”
1430: Professor Mthuli has arrived at Parliament building.
1415: Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube is now about to start presenting the midterm budget review statement.