HomeLocalStand-off won’t cripple govt: Biti

Stand-off won’t cripple govt: Biti

FORMER Finance minister Tendai Biti says the stand-off between President Robert Mugabe and the army will not cripple government operations as permanent secretaries usually run ministries.


Biti told The Standard that even the national budget, which is supposed to be announced soon, should not be affected, but could merely be moved to a later date.

His statements come in the wake of the arrest of Finance minister Ignatius Chombo who was supposed to make his maiden budget presentation for next year on Thursday in Parliament.

If his arrest means that he will be removed from government, then Chombo might live to be a Finance minister that never presented a budget.

“The disturbances must not affect the budget presentation; they (Parliament and government) just need to find another date to present it — even next year because the legal procedure is that the last date for presentation of a budget is January 31,” Biti said.

“A country is not run by ministers, it is run by bureaucracy, and it is the pay master general who is the secretary of the Ministry of Finance that disburses money to ministries in order for government to function.”

The former minister said the country could go on for even six months without ministers.

“In the short-term, running the country without ministers does not affect ministries,” Biti said.

“We can go on for three or six months without them and the country will not die. We can even go on for a year without ministers.”

Before he was arrested, Chombo addressed MPs during the pre-budget seminar in Victoria Falls where he said in 2018 the overall economic growth was anticipated at 3%, supported by key sectors of agriculture, mining, construction, tourism, information communication technology (ICT) as well as services.

However, American economist Steve Hanke has predicted inflation in Zimbabwe to rise to 242, 72% given the political disturbances.

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