Government-by-Government Assessments: Zimbabwe

During the review period, the government made its executive budget proposal and end-of-year report, but not its enacted budget, publicly available online within a reasonable period of time.  Information on some debt obligations was publicly available, but not information on contingent debt or state-owned enterprise debt.  The central bank has used off budget accounts to conduct quasi- fiscal activity, and some of the debt may be assumed by the government. Publicly available budget documents did not include a substantially complete picture of revenue streams, including natural resource revenues.  The budget included aggregate allocations to, but not earnings from, state-owned enterprises.  Significantly, large state-owned enterprises did not have audited financial statements.  The information in the budget was considered generally unreliable, as actual revenue and expenditure deviated significantly from the enacted budget and the government did not produce a supplemental budget. The intelligence budget was not part of the public budget, and there were no procedures in place to permit parliamentary review of it.  The supreme audit institution, which meets international standards of independence, reviewed the government’s accounts and made its report publicly available within a reasonable period of time.  The criteria and procedures by which the national government awards natural resource extraction contracts or licenses were specified in law.  The government appeared to follow the law in practice, except in the diamond sector, where it is unclear if the laws are followed in practice.  Basic information on mining concessions was not publicly available. Zimbabwe’s fiscal transparency would be improved by:

  • publishing its enacted budget within a reasonable period of time;
  • publishing information on contingent debt and state-owned enterprise debt;
  • eliminating off-budget accounts;
  • providing a complete picture of revenues and expenditures, including revenues from natural resources;
  • detailing allocations to and revenues from state-owned enterprises in budget documents;
  • making full audit reports for major state-owned enterprises publicly available;
  • allowing greater parliamentary oversight over the intelligence budget;
  • improving the reliability of budget estimates;
  • following in practice laws and regulations governing natural resource extraction contracting and licensing; and
  • making basic information about such awards publicly available.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future