tendai dotito biti.jpgFinance Minister Tendai Biti has come under heavy criticism on his proposal for a Jobs Fund in his recently announced budget, with stakeholders saying he should have prioritised indigenisation and empowerment.

In his 2012 National Budget proposal, Mr Biti proposed to set up a Jobs Fund with an initial seed capital of US$20 million.

However, economic analyst Jonathan Kadzura says Minister Biti got his priorities wrong in a country seeking to raise its own local entrepreneurs and his focus should have been on providing direct funding to businesses.

While indigenisation and economic empowerment have been hailed as the right policies to ensure the involvement of a majority of Zimbabweans in business, local businesspeople feel Mr Biti’s focus on job creation is not what the country needs at the moment and in fact, it runs parallel with government’s indigenisation and economic empowerment drive.

The MDC-T has been previously critical of the indigenisation policy and observers say Biti’s moves are a direct assault on the policy which seeks to redress past economic imbalances created by colonialism.

Meanwhile, Minister Biti has also come under fire for failing by to remove import duty on basic commodities.

In a survey carried by ZBC News in Harare, some people raised questions on the will by Mr Biti in helping the poor by protecting a non performing local industry at the expense of consumers through the reintroduction of duty on basic commodities.

In the 2012 National Budget, Minister Biti reintroduced duty on basic commodities such as mealie-meal and cooking oil despite acknowledging that the move had previously fuelled inflation through price distortions.

Despite all this criticism, another section of the public welcomed Mr Biti’s budget statement, commending its focus on all sectors of the economy.