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Citizens must brace for a tough 2023

Forex trade

IT’S usually at such beginning of the new year that individuals, families and various organisations sit down to lay out new targets and goals amid renewed hope that the new year would bring with it glad tidings.

But the situation seems not so in Zimbabwe, where after going through a tough 2022 characterised by so many disappointments and missed targets, this year promises to be another big yawn.

Our pessimism is not without justification. Just a cursory look at the various factors driving economic activities would convince even die-hard optimists that the economy is heading down the cliff, especially given the looming general elections where the ruling party is likely to make some suicidal policy decisions for political expediency.

As the year has kicked off, so has the parallel market rate as the local currency continues to weaken against major currencies, especially the greenback.

Prices of basic commodities are going up in response to the falling local currency, pushing many Zimbabweans earning in local currency into poverty.

The upcoming harmonised elections have brought about jitters which could certainly trigger economic implosion.

The country’s business sector expects the economy to tank this year due to the looming general elections, which have in the past been associated with policy reversals by the ruling Zanu PF as it seeks to woo votes.

Wage negotiations at the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF), which is a social dialogue platform that brings together government, business and labour to negotiate key socio-economic matters, face imminent collapse after the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions threatened to boycott the TNF meetings this year, saying the body has failed to represent the interests of workers.

This could mean deadlocks, further denting hopes of the much-needed social contract and economic stability.

Rolling power cuts, which lasted up to 20 hours daily crippling industry late last year, loom large this year as the country’s reliance on supplies from the region are weighed down by the power deficit affecting southern Africa.

The re-emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic in China has brought about renewed fears that the country could once again be hard hit by the virus that killed thousands in the country in 2020.

While it is our hope that the country experiences a better year, the above factors point to the need for the country’s citizens to gird their loins for a tough 2023.

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