Budget: Government to amend by-election laws….parties to handpick replacements

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Nigel Pfunde

In his maiden 2019 national budget proposal presentation on Thursday, Finance and Economic Development Minister  Mthuli Ncube proposed the amendment of by-election laws to allow political parties to select replacements to avoid expenditures that are incurred in the process of electing a new member.

By -elections are held when a sitting member of parliament dies or is expelled from the party in which he/she  represented.

In the spirit of cost cutting, Ncube also proposed  an alternative option of conducting by-election bi-annually thereby resulting in the harmonisation of costs.

Previously, by-elections have gobbled thousands of dollars in logistical costs that are involved in the whole electoral process.

The proposal is however likely to result in imposition of members by political parties therefore presenting possibility of  fuelling in-fighting.

Meanwhile,police had to eject some rowdy MDC members of parliament who were causing commotion to destablise the smooth follow of the presentation.

Ncube said the 2019 national budget constitute  the “first macro-fiscal financial framework for implementing the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP), which as initial stepping stone towards realising “Vision 2030”.

He noted that the ultimate aim was   to turn the economy into an upper middle earner with a per capita GDP of $3 500 and decent jobs.

The budget came at a time when prices of goods and services have hiked significantly while foreign currency stocks have declined, resulting in intermittent shortages of fuel and basics like cooking oil and bread.

As such, Ncube proposed  cost-cutting and confidence building measures to rejuvenate the economy.

“It will be a balanced budget with enough carrot and also decent stick; but hopefully more carrot than stick because we want to recreate that environment of confidence, to build confidence going forward.

“We want to regulate certain behaviours. We hope that the Budget will communicate the message of discipline. The idea is to cajole the economy as we move to the next level, as we go ahead with the mantra that we are open for business.,” Ncube was qouted as saying prior to Thursday’s presentation.