HARARE – Churches have called for a national day of prayer to reverse the country’s deteriorating economic fortunes.
This comes as Zimbabwe last week slashed its economic forecast by half to 1,4 percent due to drought.
National day of prayer coordinator John Chimbambo said only God has the power to deliver the country from total economic collapse.
“The current situation in our nation — economic, social political and spiritual — is of great concern to us. Let us continue to pray for the nation.
“The destiny of this nation is in the hands of the Christians, who have the responsibility to bring the state of the nation before God,” he added.
The Intercessors for Zimbabwe member said churches, organisations and individuals are invited to participate in this national event to be held in most of the country’s major cities and towns, including Harare, Bulawayo, Kariba, Chinhoyi and Gweru, among others.
Last week, the Base Church in Harare held a prayer session over the country’s quickly deteriorating economic conditions that have witnessed the mushrooming of multitudes of vendors on the streets.
“Never in the history of our nation has there arisen a need to pray and call upon the Lord as has now.
“The spiritual, political and economic climate of Zimbabwe all attest to this. Without God, our nation will perish,” the church said.
However, economic experts say it would require more than prayer to turn around the country’s dying economy.
“Research has shown that societies with less access to food and water are more likely to believe in an all-powerful deity,” economic analyst Francis Mukora said, adding that citizens from wealthy nations are less likely than citizens from poor nations to see religion as an important role in their daily lives.
A recent survey by WIN-Gallup International revealed that the world’s poorest nations are also some of the most religious.
“Zimbabwe must implement bold economic reforms that include clarity on the indigenisation policy, reducing corruption and containing the public sector wage bill to reverse the worsening economic situation characterised by low exports and a widening current account deficit, among other challenges,” Mukora said.
Businessman and former African Sun chief executive Shingi Munyeza this week said it was time that government looks itself in the mirror and redirect the economy toward private sector-led growth.
Munyeza said government must immediately cut its expenditure and begin to live within its means.
“They also need to commercialise State-owned enterprises — major retrenchment is overdue,” he added.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) in its Article IV Consultation and the third review of the Staff-Monitored Programme on Zimbabwe, also said the government should lower the public sector wage bill, clarify the controversial indigenisation policy and ensure that growth is led by the private sector.
The report says if Zimbabwe was to catch up with its regional peers, government also needed to address the debt overhang, normalise relationships with the international community and speedily implement bold policies and reforms to tackle the country’s structural impediments as well as facilitate sustainable long-term growth.
“For the time-being, the budget needs to target a broadly balanced fiscal position, while reprioritising spending toward social and development outlays.
“This stance will help restore fiscal sustainability and increase the capacity to repay the country’s external debt,” IMF said.
The objective, the report added, is to unlock foreign financing that could allow the government to run small-to-moderate deficits in response to adverse shocks and raise the spending levels for social and infrastructure needs.
“Zimbabwe’s economic revival cannot take place without a vibrant private sector.
“There are still too many obstacles to private entrepreneurship.
“The imminent establishment of a one-stop shop window for private investors could simplify procedures significantly,” the Bretton Woods institution said.