Zim racks up $1,2bln budget deficit as foreign travel doubles

Zim racks up $1,2bln budget deficit as foreign travel doubles

By Kuda Chideme, HARARE, February 24 (The Source) – Zimbabwe’s budget deficit amounted to $1,2 billion in the eleven months to November as government expenditure at $4,3 billion exceeded revenue of $3,1 billion, official data has shown.

Total expenditure in the period had been budgeted at $3,6 billion against revenue of $3,4 billion but a look at the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) shows that authorities failed to put the lid on spending as foreign travel costs and vehicle purchases spiraled out of control.

Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa, at his budget presentation on December 8 had put the figure at $1,1 billion for the whole year.

Government expects to run a deficit of $400 million this year, about three percent of GDP.

Foreign travel expenses at $44,9 million overshot the budgetted $20,7 million by more than 100 percent while domestic travel took up $6 million against a target of $5,3 million.

Expenditure on vehicles, plant and mobile equipment amounted to $38,6 million almost 10 times more than the budgeted $3,9 million.

Communication supplies and services also doubled to $33,5 million from the initial $18,1 million target.
Employment costs during the 11 month period, however, remained within budget at $2 billion.

Interest on debt at $112 million exceeded the budgeted $95 million by 18 percent and of that, $100 million was interest on domestic debt while $12,7 million was for foreign debt.