A depressing budget speech, very few 'earth shattering' alternatives

Ok, the truth is that the Opposition is also out of sorts in terms of exactly how they would share up the current limited resources.

Finance Minister Kenneth Matambo did a 'cut and paste job' as they say, and yes there is nothing earth shattering about this budget - nothing new and innovative about it actually. As well, a great many people will miss the aura and charisma that came to be associated with the late Baledzi Gaolathe not least because of sheer nostalgia, but also because he usually presented a rosier picture of our economic outlook and gave hope to the nation. The pain of the current budget reading is that we were presented with problems: less with solutions.

From the onset the minister made it clear that "the Paper was prepared amidst uncertainties regarding prospects of both the global and domestic economy. Such uncertainties led to constrained demand for, and a decline in prices of diamonds in the global market". This statement was a great way to soften the ground, to set expectations low. Well, that it did with aplomb but it did not answer the critical question: where do we go from here? The closest it came to that was in saying that "hence revenues available to government are expected to decline in the medium to long-term. This puts pressure on government to be more cautious in determining its expenditure profile in the short to medium term...'' But again, let us face it, that is merely presenting the nation with problems, not solutions, which I believe is what they are seeking.

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