PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe further strained the country’s tight $4,1 billion 2015 budget when he appointed two vice-presidents and created two new ministries that had not been factored in the budget presented to Parliament last month, economists have said.
Mugabe last Friday appointed vice-presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko and unveiled an expanded Cabinet including a Economic Planning ministry headed by Simon Khaya Moyo and a War Veterans Welfare ministry led by Christopher Mutsvangwa.
Economist Godfrey Kanyenze said: “The president’s decisions were more political without taking into consideration the economic situation of the country.
“Resources will be further constrained after the creation of two new ministries and appointment of two vice-presidents to a bloated government,” he said.
The new ministers received their brand new Mercedes-Benz saloon luxury vehicles and the vice-presidents will soon move into new State houses.
The two new ministries will also need office space, office equipment human resources that include principal directors and permanent secretaries.
On the other hand former vice-president Joice Mujuru will continue receiving a monthly pension for life equivalent to the current salary of a sitting vice-president.
The developments come as ministries last week complained that Treasury had allocated them far fewer resources than they had bid for.
A government economist who declined to be named said the appointments will hurt the economy even further.
“The decision will further worsen the haemorrhaging economy and in this scenario when politics clash with the economy — politics unfortunately always wins,” he said.
Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa was not immediately available to comment how he will finance the new ministries from his budget as presented.
The budget debate is expected to start today in the National Assembly.
Meanwhile, National Constitutional Assembly leader Lovemore Madhuku has applied to the Constitutional Court seeking the nullification of Mnangagwa and Mphoko’s appointments, arguing that the appointments were unconstitutional and a further strain on the Treasury, which is struggling to fund capital projects such as water and energy.
The matter is still pending before the court with no date set for its hearing.