Zimbabwe must make tough economic decisions: Diplomat

GERMAN ambassador to Zimbabwe Thorsten Hutter on Wednesday said his country was ready to re-engage Zimbabwe but urged the government to make tough economic decisions to reduce the budget deficit if it was to provide efficient services to citizens and win international support.

BY STEPHEN CHADENGA

Hutter said the country’s extravagant spending did not inspire investor confidence and there was need to rein in budget deficit.

“We are ready to re-engage but this needs to be based on decisions by the government of Zimbabwe, decisions that would be tough, painful decisions, which have to do with the runaway budget deficit,” Hutter said on the sidelines of a tour of Gweru’s water reservoirs rehabilitated with help from German Development Co-operation.

“The (budget) deficit needs to be reined in; otherwise it would be hard for the government of Zimbabwe to maintain services to the people of Zimbabwe.
Yes, we need to re-engage with the government but there is a saying that it takes two to tango and tango is a dance that needs two people. So we hope the government of Zimbabwe understands the need to take important sustainable decisions.”

Early this week, Treasury secretary, George Guvamatanga revealed that the country’s budget deficit will more than double to 11,1% of gross domestic product this year from an initial forecast of 5% as a result of uncontrolled government spending.

He said a double digit budget deficit was not sustainable and that government was taking measures to cut its wage bill by $330 million between 2019 and 2020.

Over the years relations between Germany and Zimbabwe took a down turn after the European Union imposed sanctions after the 2000 elections over alleged human rights abuses. The EU lifted the sanctions in 2014, with only former President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace still on the list.

In August this year, Germany Economic Co-operation minister, Gerd Muller met President Emmerson Mnangagwa with the Western country pledging to open lines of credit for Zimbabwe and improve bilateral relations between the two countries.

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