Thursday, June 1, 2023

‘Spat on Mthuli Ncube’s face’

…As ZIMCODD lands landmark constitutional ruling in PFM

Emmanuel Chitsika

The Zimbabwe Coalition for Debt Management and Development (ZIMCODD) is basking in glory after scoring a ‘landmark constitutional ruling’ compelling the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to amend the Public Finance Management Act through a bill.
The ruling by the High Court of Zimbabwe on March 23 saw the ministry being given an order to ensure that the bill amending the act shall be done within a period not exceeding 12 months.
“It is ordered by consent that within 12 months from the date (March 23, 2023) of this order, the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning and Development shall propose for national assent to the National Assembly by way of motion or in the Finance Bill the limit for public borrowing envisaged in section 11 (2) of the Public Finance Management Act (Chapter 27:21).
“Within 12 months from the date of this order, the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning and Development shall gazette a bill amending the Public Finance Management Act (Chapter 21:22) which Bill will outline: The role of Parliament in approving loans and guarantees before the contraction of the same, the limits on debts and obligations guaranteed by the State pursuant to section 300 (1) of the Constitution, the procedure in respect of which Parliament ratifies or rejects any loan or guarantee and the procedure in which the State regularly updates Parliament on debts are obligatory loans including guarantees. Each party shall pay its own costs,” read the ruling by the High Court.
ZIMCODD, Henry Kane, Chioneso Samantha Kanoyangwa and Alice Kuveya as applicants were represented by former Finance Minister Tendai Biti while the Minister of Finance (Mthuli Ncube), Parliament of Zimbabwe and the Attorney General of Zimbabwe were the respondents.
ZINCODD Programs Manager John Maketo praised the ruling saying it will go a long way in ushering some sense of discipline that has been lacking in the Ministry of Finance while at the same time bringing into play the principle of decentralization of power.
“This is a landmark ruling in Zimbabwe and a correction on serious roles in the management of public finances. It is taking away centralized powers from the office of the Minister (of Finance) and strengthening Parliamentary approval to public spending.
“The situation has not been fine because the Minister previously would just decide to give a certain company the guarantee to borrow money without the scrutiny of Parliament which will in turn give a burden to ordinary citizens. Most of the guarantees that were given be it to private companies or parastatals were a total failure because the companies are or were not performing,”
“Assuming public government debt being done by one person without Parliamentary approval was a major undoing to the country. This ruling thus is a constitutional error that existed but has been corrected by this order,” said Maketo.
On a number of occasions, Minister Mthuli Ncube has been caught offside as he wantonly presided over excessive government expenditures without following protocols like seeking prior Parliamentary approval before making key decisions while at times he would apply for Parliamentary pardon after over spending.

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