HARARE – Zimbabweans should brace themselves for a depressed festive season following the worsening liquidity crunch.
Already, many people in the country are feeling the pinch of cash shortages as evidenced by most depositors who this week failed to get their money from various financial institutions.
The financial services sector is buckling under cash shortages pressure while there are no indications that the Central Bank’s role as lender of last resort will be retained any time soon.
A great number of companies’ closures witnessed this year alone in areas such as Harare, Bulawayo, Masvingo, Mutare and Chinhoyi among others have ensured that retrenched workers and their families will endure a tough festive season.
Before the liquidity crisis, Zimbabwe, like elsewhere in the Christian world, celebrated Christmas holidays with much fervour and extravagance.
People used to spend lavishly on European-style Christmas trees, the best food, presents, new clothes and special parties.
Shops opened early and stayed opened late to enable shoppers to stock up.
But with the prevailing economic crisis, Christmas is unlikely to be merry for the impoverished majority this year while the New Year does not promise any prosperity, according to forecasts.
There are fewer Christmas lights and decorations in shops around the city compared to previous years.
Shoppers wander about, gazing at displays and posters and eventually walk past without buying, despite discounts, or leave with cheap symbolic gifts.
As the debt-ridden country limps towards 2014, the new government seems clueless on the way forward.
The much-touted economic blueprint dubbed the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZimAsset) has failed to excite the market.
Considering our current economic situation, we feel the targets set by the economic blueprint are miles away from reality.
At a time when the economy is slowly receding into recession with growth rates having been revised to 3,4 percent from five percent this year, ZimAsset envisages to grow the economy by an average of 9,9 percent for the next five years.
However, for as long as Zimbabwe does not address its economic policies, property rights and respect for human and civil rights, the targets set by the blueprint will remain a pipe dream.
Preparations for the 2013/14 agriculture season are already in shambles with indications of massive fertiliser shortages attributed to massive corruption and abuse of farming inputs meant for ordinary rural farmers.
We feel that it is no longer socially or politically tenable for government to continue obstructing our aspirations for better living standards given the arduous economic journey we have travelled and the obtaining crippling liquidity and unemployment challenges.