Saasa predicts tough Budget options

PROFESSOR Oliver Saasa says he expects Minister of Finance, Felix Mutati, in his Budget presentation today, to clearly explain how Government would manage the growth of the economy, especially on revenue collection. Speaking in an interview, Prof Saasa said he expected Government to put in place measures which would grow the economy such as broadening the tax base. He said much as Government would sign an economic recovery plan with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), it also needed domestic revenue. β€œI am interested in both revenue generation and expenditure side. We have to broaden the tax base, I want to see how the minister will skilfully do it with the capacity of ZRA to collect more corporate taxes, but I do not expect that to be substantial because this is a year for austerity measures,” he said. Prof Saasa also said he was interested in how the stimulus package would lead to improved productivity, especially to the private sector. He explained that he expected more incentives extended to the private sector so that they take charge in growing the economy because the growth of the economy was equally as important as management of the money generated after the growth. Prof Saasa emphasised the need to tackle the management of the current account deficit which, by the end of this year, might go up to 10 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). He explained that it was better to use less resources but use them more efficiently. β€œIt is better to use less resources but use them more efficiently which means we have to look at better targeting of the subsidies, not eliminating them completely but we would want to hear the Government coming up with the measures that can improve the targeting on those who cannot survive the austerity measures,” he said.