No Monica, please speak language of the economy

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REMARKS by Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa, that they have unearthed evidence proving that government’s detractors were behind galloping inflation that is causing turbulence in the economy, have yet again exposed the Executive’s detachment from reality.

Mutsvangwa made the unfortunate claim on Thursday last week responding to opposition legislators in the Senate, who blamed Statutory Instrument (SI) 127 of 2021, meant to curb foreign currency black market activities, for fuelling inflation in the country.

Mutsvangwa, to the astonishment of some members of the Upper House, claimed there were a number of things which President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his government had done to make sure that they dealt with the “weapon of inflation”, which was reportedly being used by dominant post-imperial colonialists to make sure that there was regime change in Zimbabwe.

That this mind-boggling claim came from a senior government official, who should know better, explains why Zimbabwe has been an economic backwater for the last 20 or so years. It also explains why this country may remain in the doldrums unless leadership renewal is effected.

It is no secret that the decision by government to ban the multi-currency regime and reintroduce the Zimbabwe dollar without the required benchmarks through SI 142 of 2019 was a major catalyst of inflation.

This thumb-sucking decision, without consultation with key stakeholders, led to inflation skyrocketing to more than 800% in July last year as the local currency lost massive value and decimated incomes and pensions, which reduced many to near destitution.

Such was the impact that the government made an embarrassing climb-down to reintroduce the use of the multi-currency regime under the guise of ameliorating the impact of the COVID-19 last year.

However, the damage had already been done, with even major companies like cement manufacturing giant PPC reporting a major dent in its profitability due to a 75% depreciation of the local unit.

It is such ridiculous decisions that have led to the country’s current hyperinflationary environment, and not  machinations by the critics of government, as claimed by Mutsvangwa.

It is not a secret that government ought to come up with policies that promote economic growth and not unworkable policies and scapegoating when its shenanigans are exposed or policies unsurprisingly fall flat.

As the Douglas Mwonzora-led MDC-T spokesperson Witness Dube pointed out: “The economy has its own language and it has nothing to do with politics. It is irresponsible for government to want to politicise everything. It (government) has to listen to the language of the economy and act accordingly. It is a clear acknowledgement of failure to relate to how the economy is at the moment.”

We could not agree more. With her vast experience and knowledge, Mutsvangwa ought to know better. We have no doubt that she can do better. Clearly, it’s not everything that Mutsvangwa must spin, please! She must be extremely embarrassed by such level of buck-passing!