BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA
ECONOMIST John Robertson says Zimbabwe’s economic situation is beginning to look promising following the central bank’s decision to liberalise the foreign exchange market last month.
Speaking at a meeting on the state of the economy organised by the British Council, Robertson said the recent monetary measures that created an official interbank foreign currency trading platform and made the local currency official needed to be buttressed with stable policies.
“At last, our situation has started to look promising. We all know the uncertainties that we have been battling with for years. We have had shortages of bread, cash, fuel and various imports, including job opportunities and everyone has their list of which I can say that our lists are now shorter. In spite of that, I would still say our situation looks more promising anyway,” he said.
“What has changed? Well, government has decided to let market forces decide the exchange rate for what is our almost new currency with our virtual RTGS dollars . . . Stability is an important objective from so many points of view, that if it can be reached, it would be a very worthy achievement”.
Further, Robertson said monetary measures were introduced without addressing foreign currency generation, which had led to government introducing a new currency, but without significant backing in terms of foreign currency reserves.
He said this had left the currency in a volatile state that needed government to now urgently look into foreign currency generation.
“We still have a lot to do to improve, but stable conditions would encourage investment and investment is the most important prerequisite for job creation.”
“Price stability will encourage business expansion, the efforts needed to establish new markets, the resourcefulness needed to design better products and the courage needed to venture into new areas of business opportunity. And job creation will alleviate poverty and poverty is one of the more serious problems right now,” Robertson said.
“We all want to see a great more stability and we can achieve it.”
Despite introducing a new currency and liberalising the foreign currency exchange, business says it has not been able to access foreign currency from the banks.