HARARE – Since the July 31 elections, it seems the economy has gone from bad to worse.
The little ray of hope created during the coalition government between President Robert Mugabe and long-time rival Morgan Tsvangirai has gone.
This is a bad start.
The circumstances on the ground say it all. When Mugabe’s government took over, it had its work cut out.
Clearly, its greatest task was, and remains, to come up with policies and strategies to save Zimbabwe’s investment-starved and broken economy from the abyss.
However, the developments in the three months since Zanu PF’s victory, paint a gloomy picture.
They evidently show that the once “tried and tested” Zanu PF and its veteran leader have no capacity to drive this economy forward.
The economy is back again on the downtrend with more companies shutting down and unemployment rising, contrary to Zanu PF’s promise to create at least two million jobs upon wrestling power from Tsvangirai’s MDC.
Government-owned institutions are at the forefront of laying off workers.
Recently, National Railways of Zimbabwe and Air Zimbabwe announced plans to retrench.
Furthermore, the prevailing liquidity crunch is now biting as investors back off and have become too cautious to invest in the country.
At the moment, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa has postponed the 2014 national budget.
The treasury chief — one of Mugabe’s right hand men — says he needs more time to seek budgetary support.
But the timing is wrong. Industry, investors, businesses and other decision makers need the budget now.
It is a key policy in their planning and decision- making. This has put 2014 preparations on hold.
Apart from that, other nations are reluctant to bail out Mugabe and his government with the Chinese, which we have no choice but to turn to, imposing tight lending conditions.
Coupled with the postponement of the budget, government has unveiled its economic blueprint, Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation but it remains withheld from the stakeholders.
Without the budget and the economic blueprint — key policy and strategy documents — industry and business cannot plan.
Also, Chinamasa recently said treasury had not received a single cent from diamond revenues.
He said, out of a targeted $40 million expected to be remitted from diamond sales in the nine months to September 2013, absolutely nothing came through.
This is baffling.
When Chinamasa’s predecessor, Tendai Biti, used to cry foul over non-remittance of diamond proceeds, Zanu PF argued that it was a political statement.
Zimbabweans can as well forget about the festive season. All this indicates tough times ahead.