BY SHARON BUWERIMWE
GOVERNMENT has been accused of using the Russian invasion of Ukraine as a scapegoat for its failure to manage the country’s ailing economy.
On Monday, Women’s Affairs, Small and Medium Enterprises minister Sithembiso Nyoni said the economic challenges that the country is facing were due to decline in the global supplies of goods.
Nyoni was addressing delegates at the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) day in Harare.
The country is currently experiencing a sharp increase in prices of basic commodities, especially cooking oil, mealie-meal and bread which are also fast disappearing from shop shelves.
“Some of the things that are happening are really not our fault and let me assure you that His Excellency President Emmerson Mnangagwa is doing everything possible to ensure that we are capacitated.
“Prices rise when there is scarcity but when there are more of these commodities I bet prices will come down. Government is in the process of putting in place the capacity of many SMEs to fill the gaps in the supply of basic commodities in our nation. Government is calling upon SMEs that are producing basic commodities such as cooking oil, mealie-meal, and flour and so on, so that we can produce more for the market,” Nyoni said.
But economists who spoke to NewsDay said Zimbabwe’s economic challenges must not be blamed on the war in Ukraine.
Vince Musewe, an economist said while the Ukraine-Russian war has contributed to price increases across the globe, the government was not being honest to entirely blame events in Europe to Zimbabwe’s economic decay.
“Politicians always want to find scapegoats but in Zimbabwe we have other issues that have caused the economy not to perform well. The issue of RTGS-US$ rates has caused inflation in Zimbabwe. Yes, we know that Russia and Ukraine are major exporters of wheat. Russia is also a major producer of oil. This is bound to cause disruption on the world market but to blame that as the major reason for our economic problems is not being honest,” Musewe said.
Analyst Farai Gwenhure said: “When government talks about how the war has caused suffering in Zimbabwe, one tends to think that the country was performing very well and developing at a supersonic speed before the Russia-Ukraine conflict. The truth is the war is affecting the country because the economy was already been in doldrums. It’s like a chronic patient getting coronavirus. The result can be devastating.”
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