MDC Alliance leader, Nelson Chamisa has castigated President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration for celebrating ‘fake budgets surpluses’ when the majority of Zimbabweans are reportedly wallowing in extreme poverty.
In a statement on his Twitter handle yesterday, Chamisa said ordinary Zimbabweans were struggling to make ends meet and criticised the government for always celebrating budget surpluses when the reality on the ground is poverty.
“INCREASING POVERTY.. Everywhere I go people are struggling to make ends meet, to put money in their pocket, to get food for their families and a roof above their heads. Life in Zimbabwe is such a hustle, such a daily fight for everything and anything from food, electricity, water, transport, jobs and money,” he said.
Chamisa noted that based on data analysis on food poverty with 2017 and 2019 Poverty, Income, Consumption, Expenditure Survey (PICES) data, the World Bank estimated that the number of people under the food poverty line (the share of people that can’t afford a basic basket of food products), or people living with income under USD $1.90 per day has increased from 3 million people in 2011 to 4.7 million (29% of the population) to about 6 million in 2019 and rose to 7.9 million in 2020 (World Bank, 2021).
“When the Min of Finance (Mthuli Ncube) is celebrating budget surplus, the budget cuts & excessive taxes have pushed 49% (7.9 million) of the population into extreme poverty up from 3 million people in 2011 (during GNU).In fact, in 2020 alone, 1.9 million Zimbabweans entered into extreme poverty, ” he said.
Presenting the Treasury quarterly bulletin two months ago, Ncube said Zimbabwe had recorded a whopping $9.8 billion budget surplus during the first quarter of 2021 and attributed deep economic reforms.
“On the fiscal front, a budget surplus of $9.8 billion was recorded as the government continued fiscal consolidation for ensuring stability and restoration of market confidence,” he said
But Chamisa differs, saying, “of interest to Zimbabweans is the fact that in 2018, 29% of the population was in extreme poverty. About two years later, an additional 20% of the population entered into extreme poverty on the back of years of bad policies, bad governance, conflict and a command economy.
“Sadly, the same government is celebrating the so-called fake budget surplus when now half of the population is wallowing in poverty. The message here is clear: voting for them is voting for poverty. This is why it is urgent for the CITIZENS TO CONVERGE FOR CHANGE.” Added Chamisa.