In our economic environment where there is little if any good news you’ll take where it where you can get. The government of Zimbabwe posted a surplus for the month of February 2019 and that makes it 3 in a row. The surplus came in at ZWL$82.9 million. Down from ZWL$112.9 million. The government collected a total of ZWL$606.7 million, registering an estimated 30% jump from Januarys ZWL$468.19 million.
This represents the 3rd consecutive month of operating in surplus for the government of Zimbabwe. having a posted an estimated ZWL$732 million surplus in December of 2018, followed by ZWL$112.9 million for January 2019.
Taxation on goods and services netted the bulk of government revenue at ZWL$336.37 million. Income and corporate tax contributed ZWL$141.35 million. The stars of the show here were the equally maligned Intermediated Money Transfer Tax and the excise duty component of the fuel price. The signs may not immediately point to good news though. The figures are nominal and one must consider that inflation would naturally increase the IMTT per transaction. Our inflation figure for the month of February came in at 56.9%.
In terms of expenditure the figure was mostly comprised of recurrent expenditure; ZWL$444.79 million of the total ZWL$521.32 million. 85% of government expenditure. Foreign travel costs were nearly double the budgeted ZWL$2.35 million at ZWL$4.06 million. A small dent in domestic was recorded paying out ZWL$16.7 million as part of expenditure.
Employment costs came in at ZWL$285.85 million. The recently announced cost of living adjustment which comes into effect at the end of April will see to an increase in this figure in the near term. Cost management is one of many issues the government struggles.
George Guvamatanga permanent secretary in the Finance and Economic ministry bemoaned the fact that the government of Zimbabwe employs only one chartered accountant. In a country that requires a public company to have a chartered accountant for the smallest of concerns, it seems a case of ‘do as I say not as I do’.
Finance minister Mthuli Ncube did write at length in the Herald praising his IMTT. Claiming that it enabled cyclone Idai relief efforts by the government. One cannot argue with that. Meanwhile, the ministry has pledged to publish their accounts regularly to promote transparency. It’s a very small step but it goes some way towards showing transparency. The 2019 budget was announced under the title ‘Austerity for prosperity’. It is questionable how much of both we have seen.