While the bigger part of the 2017 national budget is basically an expenditure budget of $4 billion, we strongly feel that little was allocated for the critical ICT sector which is only allocated a meagre $17million, same amount from last year, and expected to fund most of its operations alone.
Presenting his budget few days back, The Finance minister Hon Patrick Chinamasa did not even measure or highlight how ICTs have impacted the national GDP outside all other sectors while the second tax paying sector in zimbabwe is purely telecommunication sector.
This probably makes the whole budget projections ironic, and allocating only $17million for such a sector was an understatement. The bigger chuck of the ICT expenditure is going to be self funded, by state owned ICT companies whom have been perennial loss making companies.
Both Telone and NetOne are on a strong recovery path, but still have their huge parts of their balance sheets in the negative including legacy borrowing.However it seems their best part of their budget is going to be funded by nothing else but loans which is not a very positive move. Powertel a zesa owned Telecommunications company operating profitably is not under the ICT ministry.
The above allocations will be complemented by resources mobilised from statutory funds, US$11.7 million; parastatal’s own resources of US$26.9 million and US$87.4 million from loan nancing.
Most of these e-government programs have started being rolled out which have drastically tried to move government operations from the traditional cumbersome paper work to electronic models especially with the office of the registrar.
E-Government programmes being implemented are aimed at allowing all Ministries, Departments and public entities to have flexibility in deploying e-applications online that reduce red tape, eradicate corruption and other institutional bottlenecks associated with the traditional methods of public service delivery.
The 11 e-applications, currently riding on the Public Finance Management System, rolled out during 2016 in order to bring Government services closer to the people.
Network Expansion & Upgrading Projects
Under the US$98 million National Backbone and Broadband Access Project, already underway, TelOne will expend US$47.4 million in 2017 on extending the bre optic network to unserved areas, including upgrading the data centre and Centralised National Operations Centre, among others.
Using own resources, TelOne will also avail US$26.8 million towards last mile connectivity, value added services equipment and facilities, all aimed at ensuring better services to clients and business growth.
This intervention is in addition to the NetOne Network Expansion Phase II project where NetOne is expected to drawdown US$40 million from a China Eximbank loan to cov
Taking advantage of developments in the ICT sector, Government will establish an E-Government platform that will enhance access to Government information and services, that way promoting transparency and ef ciency in public services delivery.
The National Data Centre
In this regard, scal resources amounting to US$6.9 million will be used to set up the National Data Centre to support the rollout and use of E-Government services by citizens, which should contribute towards the easing the cost of doing business in the country.
Furthermore, the Universal Services Fund will earmark US$11.7 million towards the setting up of 70 Community Information centres in rural service centres, roll out of computerisation and E-learning facilities to 1 300 schools, and introduction of tele-medicine facilities in 20 rural health centres.
You May Download The 2017 BUDGET Here
here are key pointers of the budget
- Growth is projected at 1.7%, from 0.6% estimated in 2016;
- In ation projected at 1.1%, from a negative 1.5% in 2016.
- Total revenues are projected at US$3.7 billion;
- Total expenditures are projected at US$4.1 billion;
- Financing gap of US$400 million.
- Government wage bill takes US$3.0 billion in 2017;
- Capital expenditure amounts US$520 million, which is 3.6% of GDP;
- Trade de cit of US$1.537 billion, compared to US$1.985 billion in 2016;
- Debt stock at US$11.2 billion as at 31 October 2016, which is 79% of GDP.