The Sunday Mail
Zimbabwe’s economy will rebound next year, as Government has set a solid foundation for growth despite being plagued by the worst drought in four decades in the 2018/2019 season, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said.
He warned cash barons who were abusing the newly introduced $2 and $5 notes, adding that authorities have since identified some of the culprits, who will soon face justice.
Government’s bold decision to reintroduce a new currency, he said, will help to industrialise the economy and create jobs.
Speaking at an anti-sanctions rally after commissioning a state-of-the-art hospital in Mahusekwa, Mashonaland East, President Mnangagwa said the country’s economic progress was unique since it was being undertaken without support from international financial institutions.
“We are happy that when we instituted austerity measures, yes, the economy went down by minus 6,5 (percent) in terms of growth. But when everything has stabilised, through what we call fiscal consolidation of expenditure and revenue, next year, which is just the month after next, our economy will start to rebound from minus 6,5 (percent) in 2019 to plus 3 percent in 2020,” he said.
“There are other countries that are undergoing economic and political reforms, like we are doing ourselves. Egypt got US$12 billion, Argentina got US$100 billion, Greece several billions to resuscitate their economy, but not a single cent has been given to Zimbabwe in the process of reforming our economy.”
Notwithstanding the teething challenges experienced in transitioning from a multi-currency system to a mono-currency, he added, a local currency was a prerequisite for development.
“Firstly, there is no single country which has developed its economy, which has industrialised its economy, without its own currency.
“You go to SA, they have the rand; Botswana they have the pula. In Zambia, they have the kwacha. All these countries suffer good and bad times with their currencies and they forge ahead. Should we continue with other people’s currencies? No! We should have our own. That is why we said let us take the brave route.”
The country would leverage on domestic resources and fiscal discipline to grow the economy, he said, adding Government would continue to responsibly manage its finances.
President Mnangagwa said: “We were eating what we did not kill. Government was borrowing needlessly and we have stopped that and told ourselves that we should not continue on that path. We said let us make do with what we have because excessive borrowing will catch up with us.”
Authorities, the President added, had identified some of the ring leaders of illegal cash trading, including a prominent woman.
“We have seen those that want to abuse our new money. There are two banks that we identified. There was also a woman, and some officials whose names we will not mention. But we know them and they are going to face the music. Shamhu yemunyu irikuuya. We say no to corruption!”
President Mnangagwa said economic growth can only be attained in a peaceful environment, and law enforcement agents are now better trained to deal with civil disobedience following lessons learnt from opposition-led unrest in August last year and January this year.
“We are going to continue to consolidate that growth. What is required is unity among our people. What is required is peace among our people.
“We must shun violence and violent demonstrations in this country because we want to build. You don’t build fighting. When the children of Babylon wanted to build a tower, God threw different tongues, so when there is chaos, we will not build.
He added: “After last year’s elections, the MDC caused violence. They claimed they had won, but we asked them how they had won. They went to court and the law allows ballot boxes to be opened. They did not go that route because they had gone for a workshop in Livingstone where they gave themselves votes. In January, they caused violence, killing and beating our police officers . . .
“We will not tolerate violent demonstrations. The Constitution allows peaceful demonstrations and you must not violate the freedom of other people or destroy the property of other people.”
President Mnangagwa applauded SADC for standing behind Zimbabwe in campaigning against sanctions.