Zimbabwe economy dies

 Zimbabwe economy dies
Published: 27 May 2019 (183 Views)
LONG-suffering Zimbabweans are fearful that the country's troubled economy is once again hurtling towards another major crisis akin to the horrific 2008 hyper-inflationary era which decimated both lives and businesses, the Daily News can report.

As a measure of the scale of the crisis facing the country -  which has heightened calls for political dialogue between President Emmerson Mnangagwa and opposition leader Nelson Chamisa -  official inflation has now hit 75,86 percent, the highest recorded in the southern African nation since it abandoned the worthless Zimbabwe dollar in 2009.

To make matters worse for consumers, the prices of most basic consumer goods were hiked sharply twice last week alone, in response to the recent fuel price increases and the ever weakening RTGS dollar against the United States dollar.

On its part, the government has said that it expects the prices of basic goods to come down in the next few weeks, after it secured US$500 million to support the interbank market and to service essential obligations.

Consumers who spoke to the Daily News yesterday said their lived experience told them that the economy had effectively slipped back to the dire levels of 2008 -  with the only difference being that this time around supermarkets were fully stocked.

"Honestly, we are living through God's will. Things are getting worse every minute and I don't have any hope for life to get better anytime soon because those in power seem clueless on solving them," said Tapiwa Nhachi.

Another consumer Siphilisiwe Zhou also said the worsening economic rot was making life unbearable for people of little means like her.

"Akuphileki m'tanami, ngingaqamba amanga (it is so unbearable my daughter, if I said I am surviving I would be lying). I honestly don't see the situation improving going forward.

"The cost of living keeps going up whereas salaries are remaining stagnant. My salary can no longer sustain me and my family.
"Food is now expensive and I've been forced to buy just basic goods so that I can put a basic meal on the table. I haven't paid full fees for my two sons who are in high school," Zhou said.

Recently, lawyer Fadzayi Mahere also revealed the frustrations of many Zimbabweans in the light of the deteriorating economic situation In the country when she took to micro-blogging site, Twitter, to vent her disappointment.

"Zim is highly frustrating. One spends all their time firefighting to get fuel, currency or affordable basic goods.
"Electricity disappears repeatedly, so even with a borehole you have no water. Potholes destroy your car. Our leaders respond by wearing a scarf. This isn't normal," she wrote on Twitter.

Zimbabwe is currently going through its worst economic crisis in more than a decade, which has seen the country experiencing crippling power cuts, fuel and foreign currency shortages among a long list of other challenges.

As a result, long suffering Zimbabweans, particularly the poor and working classes, are increasingly battling to make ends meet, as the prices of basic goods such as maize-meal, cooking oil and bread have skyrocketed over the past few months in tandem with the worsening economic situation.

Over the weekend Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya said the government was working flat out to stabilise the economy and expected prices to start going down in the next few weeks.

"We are in a transition and working hard to manage it. Last week we put US$40 million into the interbank market and we expect rates to stabilise.

"Prices can only stabilise when rates stabilise. We are confident that in the next few weeks prices would have stabilised," Mangudya said.

He also dismissed as false claims that the interbank rate was trading at seven to the US dollar.

"You mustn't listen too much to currency manipulators. It is high time Zimbabweans focus on production, not foreign currency speculation.

"Why should someone find joy in waking up every morning and ask about the rate movement of the US dollar?" he asked rhetorically.

Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) president Sifelani Jabangwe said the government should address the distortions in the market which he blamed for price increases.
"There is certainly something that is weird on the market where the black market is now driving the market ... business also needs to stop using the parallel market rate as the reference rate for pricing purposes, as it is illegal to do so.

"The rates that are out there are not sustainable and people should not panic because the panic is what makes things even worse.

"The increase in prices is actually the issue of speculation because currently the country has the highest foreign currency that we have ever had since 2009," Jabangwe said.
Former Finance minister in the short-lived government of national unity, Tendai Biti, blamed the government for the current mess.

"Zanu-PF is not capable of solving this economic crisis, let alone address fuel price increases, as its leaders are well proven failures.

"Mthuli Ncube even failed to run that bank of his. So, what economy can he drive. The problems facing Zimbabwe are political because there is lack of trust, and thus there is need for a genuine political dialogue.

"The dialogue must be between … Chamisa and Mnangagwa if we are to resolve the crisis," Biti said.

Respected businessman and former banker, Nigel Chanakira, also recently wondered why the government was failing to act decisively on the economic troubles bedevilling the country.
"That a currency can continue to collapse so spectacularly in a matter of days, is an indictment on the policy makers of Zimbabwe.

"More so that this has occurred repeatedly for over two decades only interrupted once by a period of having a safe pair of hands in a minister ... of Finance operating under a unity accord ... Lord have mercy," Chanakira said on Twitter.

Mnangagwa swept to power amid much hope among the generality of the country's citizens -  who had endured nearly four decades of hell under ousted former president Robert Mugabe's ruinous rule.

But the task facing the 76-year-old Zanu-PF leader, of rebuilding Zimbabwe's shattered economy and lifting the quality of life of its long suffering people, has so far proven to be a tad too onerous for him and his misfiring Cabinet team.

Meanwhile, MDC officials last night said results from its elective congress were expected today as voting was spilling into the wee hours of this morning.

- dailynews

Tags: Economy,
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