MDC Alliance vice-president Tendai Biti yesterday slammed the ruling Zanu PF party for presiding over “economic malaise”, accusing President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government of being “incompetent”.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
As Biti presented the opposition party’s state of the economy address, which came just a day before Finance minister Mthuli Ncube presents the 2021 national budget in Parliament tomorrow, he accused the government of putting the economy “in a terrible shape” and rendering the local currency worthless.
“The Zimbabwean economy is in an unprecedented tailspin and is suffering from massive headwinds across all sectors, whereby in 2019 the economy shrunk by a staggering 12,5%. What it essentially means is that we are back to depression economics,” Biti said.
“This is in sharp contrast to what government claims when they say that the economy is on the mend, that it will soon reap benefits for the people, which will subsequently lead to a middle-income economy by 2030.”
Biti rubbished Ncube’s economic projections, saying instead, the country was heading for an economic recession.
“You will see that practically to all intents and purposes from 2016 onwards, the economy has been recording a sub-zero growth rates. Contrary to the estimations by Ncube in his 2021 budget strategy paper, we expect a below zero growth rate,” he said.
He also rubbished allegations that sanctions were affecting the economy, adding that the ruling party was just using them as a scapegoat for Ncube and Mnangagwa’s failures.
“The factors are primarily man made; the factors are primarily as a result of incompetence and cluelessness by government. We are returning to depression economics, because the Zimbabwean economy is very cyclical, it loves these booms and slumps, booms and slumps,” he said.
Biti said ill-advised government policies had helped push the economy into a recession.
“Recession economics is characterised by three things which are arresting our country at the present moment, which is low productivity or low output. A typical characteristic of depression economics is weak or low aggregate demand.
“Unlike 2008, the shops are full of goods, but people are picking two to three goods and running away. So there is weak or zero aggregate demand,” he said.
The former Finance minister called for the return of the multi-currency regime, saying the reintroduction of the local currency had been premature and had caused the crisis Zimbabwe is facing.
Biti said an opposition government would make Zimbabwe adopt use of the South African rand.