Only sincerity, openness will ultimately pay

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THE government recently ordered business to revert to March 25, 2020 price levels following continued increases in prices of basic goods and services during the obtaining lockdown introduced to contain the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19).

Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa even announced that price monitors would be sent out countrywide to ensure compliance. No one really bothered to look at the concerns of business and besides, price controls have no place in an open economy.

The Zanu PF government is promising more than it can deliver — an inherent part of their DNA all these years — in the process risking losing people’s confidence.

Companies — which were evidently struggling well before the Covid-19 pandemic broke out — are going through extremely difficult times, with experts warning of unprecedented job losses while the government stuck its head in the sand, suggesting it is not concerned about their survival.

Public finances are clearly overstretched as shown by the State’s failure to disburse the cumulative $200 million the government promised 1 million vulnerable households in the country. In light of this, one wonders how the Emmerson Mnangagwa-led administration will raise the $18 billion stimulus package it said would be injected into the economy in the wake of the ravages caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

There is little or no evidence of adequate consultations before the government drew up the package as other sectors were left out. How the critical education sector was omitted, among others for instance, in the stimulus package is mind-boggling.

The government conveniently forgets people have walked this road before. The hyperinflationary years of 2007-8 are still fresh in our memories. The new and higher denominations of bank notes introduced countless times then never counted to anything as the economy continued to tank.

The genesis of Zimbabwe’s current problems is political yet there is no willingness among the main players in the game to face this. Citizens remain in perennial pain and suffering yet the government apparently has not the slightest clue on how to sort out the mess.

If anything, the Zanu PF government has already set its sights on power retention beyond 2023 when the nation is expected to go for the next elections and it is the same hungry majority that they expect to give them the vote in the plebiscite.

Covid-19 is a global pandemic but our leadership has clearly failed to provide protection to the citizenry.

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