As prices of basic commodities continue to skyrocket amid indications that a family of six now requires at least $1 684 to be able to survive through just one month, there is need for stakeholders — including government and employers — to cushion their employees and ensure that they can continue to come to work and look after their families.
Unless radical intervention is made, it means the majority of citizens are going to sink into poverty, and that does not portray a positive picture of a nation that boasts of many natural resources, including diamonds. It speaks directly to governance failure and raises questions surrounding the real motives of the removal of former President Robert Mugabe from power by the military.
Although President Emmerson Mnangagwa has continuously said the country has to go through the long winter of austerity before the people of Zimbabwe can get to the Promised Land, indications on the ground are that the government is clueless on how to navigate the country out of the murky waters of economic challenges.
If government has injected similar speed that has been witnessed in relapsing back into Mugabe’s brutal way of dealing with genuine protests in its efforts to revive the economy, then citizens would have something to look forward to. But as of now, all Mnangagwa has to show for his short stint in power is the intensification of State brutality against any form of opposition and making ordinary people’s lives unbearable.
The costs of basic needs like food, transport and healthcare have spiralled out of the reach of ordinary people, while the policy makers who are preaching “austerity” have been flying in and out of the country for healthcare, paid for by the hard-pressed tax payer’s money.
With the majority of employees in the private and public sector earning an average income of $500 per month, survival has become a tough call and in some cases, families have been forced to cut down on their daily meals just so that their earnings can stretch from the beginning to the end of each month.
Although the government claims the introduction of a local bona fide currency — which they claim is coming soon — will address current challenges, such an argument has no sensible economic backing. As long as they don’t address the evils of corruption, incompetence and nepotism afflicting the government, they will not win international confidence, which is key in unlocking the financial assistance the country desperately needs to knock the economy back on track.