RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe governor, John Mangudya yesterday seemed to lay the blame for the impending economic collapse on the government, saying he had done everything he had promised to do.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
“We have done everything we promised as monetary authorities and await corresponding movement on the fiscal side.
“The issue is about confidence and we need confidence building policy measures to win this war.
“We need to remove the ambiguity in the market,” he told NewsDay yesterday.
In spite of the panic buying frenzy that set in at the weekend, Mangudya was upbeat that the economy was on the mend, despite the current challenges.
“This economy has been on the rebound. We have actually increased foreign currency allocation for basic commodities and fuel. There is no need for panic,” he said.
“I would be worried if it were fuel importers or cooking oil producing companies that had complained.
“These have not because we have increased foreign currency for fuel from $7 million to $10 million.
“If anything, it is the ordinary people, who are panicking because of some irresponsible social media messages.
They have enough foreign currency and I am sure they are okay.”
The RBZ boss said companies in the agricultural value chain have increased capacity, with disposable incomes increasing by over $360 million since the end of the farming season.
President Robert Mugabe is expected in the country today, where he is set to be confronted by an economy literally on flames after a dramatic weekend that triggered scenes reminiscent of the 2008 hyperinflationary era.
Mugabe has been away attending the United Nations General Assembly since last week, with the economy taking a severe beating in his absence.
“He (Mugabe) is expected in the country tomorrow (today) and is likely to travel to South Africa this week,” a government source said.
The economy took a turn for the worse on Friday, as prices of basic commodities shot up, while fuel queues re-emerged, leaving opposition parties seething, with former Finance minister Tendai Biti describing his successor, Patrick Chinamasa as a “criminal”.
“It’s a calamity. The wheels have come off. Chinamasa is a criminal being used by people with no idea of how to run an economy.
“Zimbabwe is in a unique situation in that Mugabe and his government have managed to create two crises, in any other environment, such things would never happen.
“We are in a recession, but then we have an inflationary situation.”
A senior government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also blamed Mugabe for fiddling with political issues while the economy was in the intensive care.
“In April, Mugabe made a pronouncement regarding the toxic indigenisation policy, but nothing has been done to align this to the Act.
“The land issue remains as unhelpful as ever.
“Mugabe is actually disempowering citizens by giving them land without title when the white farmers he took it from used the same to access finance,” the source said.
Mugabe has also been creaming the country of vital foreign currency through his expensive and regular foreign jaunts, with his recent trip to New York gobbling a reported $10 million.
The Zanu PF leader has already chewed over $50 million on foreign trips since January this year.
Both Chinamasa and Information minister Christopher Mushohwe were unreachable for comment.
MDC-T spokesperson, Obert Gutu said the solution to the current economic crisis lies in a change of government, urging Zimbabweans to register to vote.
“The economy has tanked. Everything that can go wrong has since gone wrong.
“The MDC would like to call upon Zimbabweans to register to vote in their millions and also to make sure that they vote wisely in next year’s elections.
“What is now frightening is the prospect of the disappearance of essential goods from our supermarket shelves.
“Already, there’s a shortage of cooking oil and other essential goods.
“Shop owners are now limiting customers on the quantity of cooking oil that they can buy and prices of goods have shot up considerably,” he said.
Social activist, Evan Mawarire, who leads the #ThisFlag movement, in a video message, said the government has destroyed the lives of citizens.
“It makes us think that government is up to something sinister. Its pushing citizens to the wall and we have had enough.
“Our government does not listen to its people and we saw this crisis coming, but our government is blind,” he said.