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ED, government stew over economy

By Helen Kadirire and Blessings Mashaya
©️ IT HAS emerged that President Emmerson Mnangagwa met Finance minister Mthuli Ncube and central bank governor John Mangudya for three hours on Wednesday, before directing them to jointly address the nation on the steps they are taking to mitigate the worsening crisis, the Daily News reports.

Ncube and Mangudya have yet to announce when they will unveil their new measures to prop up the economy, although the government has said the announcements are “imminent”.
All this comes as the Zimbabwe dollar, which was prematurely and ill-advisedly brought back by the under-fire Ncube last year, is plunging on the parallel market — triggering a fresh round of price increases.
Giving oral evidence in Parliament yesterday, Industry and Commerce minister Sekai Nzenza said the government was concerned by the country’s worsening economic rot.
Mthuli Ncube, Finance Minister
“We have seen the parallel market operating and it changes daily. It is very difficult to control.
“It came to a point where it was important for the president to call the Reserve Bank governor and the minister of Finance yesterday (Wednesday) … it took them three-and-a-half hours of discussions.
“It was basically to address what is happening in the market and the negative impact on the consumer,” Nzenza told the committee on Industry and Commerce.
She also said the country’s biting foreign currency shortages and increased production costs had put paid to government’s recent prices moratorium.
On Wednesday, Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa also told journalists in Harare that Ncube and Mangudya had presented a state of the economy report to Mnangagwa.
“In tandem with other global economies, Zimbabwe’s economy has been negatively impacted by the Covid-19 outbreak and growth is expected to slow down.
“The drought experienced in the 2018-19 and the current season, coupled with diminished access to external sources of foreign currency, further compounded Zimbabwe’s economic situation,” she said.
“There are, however, a number of measures — both fiscal and monetary — that are being implemented to address the challenges that the country is going through in the absence of financial support from international financial institutions (IFIs).
“The minister of Finance and …  governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe will announce measures which should see the situation stabilising in due course,” Mutsvangwa said further.
This comes as Zimbabwe is in the middle of a gigantic economic crisis which is stirring rising anger against the government.
The worsening economic crisis also comes as Zimbabwe is fighting the double whammy of the deadly effects of the global coronavirus pandemic and the regional drought that has left millions of people in the country facing starvation.
Despite showing early signs of efforts to turn around the economy, which had suffered from years of corruption and mismanagement under the previous ruinous rule of the late former president Robert Mugabe, Mnangagwa and his lieutenants are now finding the going tough.
Yesterday, prices of basic consumer goods in the country went up sharply again — on the back of the collapsing Zim dollar, having gone up significantly last weekend.
And in a sign which further sums up Zimbabwe’s worsening economic rot, the country is once again experiencing acute fuel shortages — despite the commodity being in abundant supply worldwide.


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