HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsGovt fiddles as economy burns

Govt fiddles as economy burns


RECENT statistics from the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) and the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) paint a gloomy picture about the Zimbabwean economy.

NewsDay Editorial

In its latest report, CZI said capacity utilisation in the manufacturing sector has declined to 36,3% from 39,6% as the sector takes a battering from the politically-induced economic decline.

CZI said the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) stood at 43,5%. PMI is a diffusion index that looks at new orders, inventory levels, production, supplier deliveries and employment conditions.
PMI above 50% means the manufacturing sector is growing and expanding. A PMI under 50% means the manufacturing sector is contracting.

ZCTU was quoted this week saying that a total of 4 172 people lost jobs for the first nine months of this year.

Last year, 9 617 jobs were lost while 75 companies closed.

These statistics are in contrast to what the ruling Zanu PF party promised people ahead of last year’s harmonised elections. Zanu PF promised to create jobs and revive companies. But the opposite is true.

The job losses would result in increased social vices — drug abuse, prostitution and escalation of crime.

Yet, these latest statistics should have jolted government into action. Regrettably, government is on holiday as Cabinet ministers fight for survival ahead of the explosive Zanu PF elective congress.

The issue of the economy has been relegated to the backburner as government ministers burn midnight oil to ensure that their faction prevails at the watershed December congress.

What is sad is that the economy had been contracting over the past two years. The over 4 000 will add on to the unemployment figures.

Those that have tried to eke out a living through vending have to play cat-and-mouse games with authorities who want to get something from the already burdened populace.

Zimbabweans are hard pressed, but the predatory government is demanding its pound of flesh through a raft of tax measures targeted at the poor.

Sadly, the main opposition MDC-T party which is supposed to keep the government in check is still to recover after its dismal performance at last year’s harmonised elections.

President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF knows what should be done, but has its own priorities elsewhere.

Zimbabwe needs to create a conducive environment to attract foreign direct investment required to reboot the economy. Investors have so many options to choose from.

But for that to happen, Zanu PF needs to put its house in order.
No sane investor will pour their money into an economy where a junior can attack a senior government official unless they are fly-by-night financiers who thrive in a lawless environment and are keen to clean their dirty loot.

There is no doubt that the challenges facing the country are not insurmountable. They can be tackled if there is will and if the ruling party politicians are not working at cross-purpose. It’s only that the ruling Zanu PF has its priorities elsewhere.

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