Brace for more hardships: Watchdog

ZIMBABWEANS should brace for extreme and unmitigated hardships this year due to a looming drought and economic meltdown, the National Consumer Rights Association (Nacora) has said.

BY MTHANDAZO NYONI

Nacora co-ordinator Effie Ncube told NewsDay Business that all indicators are pointing towards the wrong direction.

“As to expectations going forward, unfortunately all indicators are pointing towards the wrong direction.

Zimbabweans must therefore, brace themselves for a fight or for extreme and unmitigated hardships in 2020. It is auto-pilot into poverty and hunger,” he said.

“The economy is expected to contract by at least 15% or worse. Disposable incomes will collapse further. The cost of living will skyrocket. Unemployment will rise even further. Business and consumer confidence will decline even more,” he said.

Ncube said the Zimbabwean dollar would tumble to even catastrophic levels.

The Zimbabwe dollar has plunged more than 85% since it was reintroduced as legal tender last year, while the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth, according to the latest Economist Intelligence report, is expected to contract -12,9%.

“The little left of the manufacturing industry will disappear. Balance of payments will go deeper into the negative. Protected corruption will worsen,” Ncube said.

Ncube said the economic collapse of the country occasioned by political and economic confidence deficits had produced a huge erosion of standards of living not witnessed this decade.

Data from the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency indicates that year-on-year inflation accelerated to 481,05% in November last year from 440,18% in the previous month.

“In the history of this country, only 2008 surpasses this collapses. Poverty, hunger, malnutrition and unemployment have worsened. More than any time since 2008, more households are living below the poverty datum line and millions are food and nutritionally insecure,” he said.

The country is reeling under economic hardships characterised by hyperinflation, low salaries, excessive power cuts, dire shortage of maize meal and low production, pushing citizens and businesses to the edge.

“Children are going to school and bed without food. More people than ever before need food aid this year. Thousands of children who were supposed to enrol for early child development this year will not because of poverty.”

“Thousands will drop out of school because parents cannot afford to pay school fees. The quality of education has declined due to lack of learning and teaching aides and low staff morale. Incomes across the board have been eroded to nothing. Healthcare has collapsed. The cost of living is just unbearable,” he said.

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