Candid Comment: Zimstat figures: Reality of the economy will catch up

On Wednesday, the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat) released the third quarter gross domestic product (GDP) results.

There is an expression, ‘a bag of confusion.’It means that one is in a perpetual state of confusion over what they are doing.

And this is the perfect euphemism for the current state of the economy.

On Wednesday, the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat) released the third quarter gross domestic product (GDP) results.

Found in these results was the revelation that GDP at current market prices, at the end of the first quarter, gave the economy a valuation of ZW$6,65 trillion or US$7,15 billion.

The following quarter, GDP had fallen to ZW$18,86 trillion or US$3,28 billion in real terms as the local currency experienced a sharp depreciation during the period.

By September 30, the end of the third quarter, the GDP, at the current market price at the time, was recorded at $41,35 trillion or US$7,56 billion.

What these statistics show is that the economy has lost a lot of money, and I mean a lot, in real terms.

These are the dangers that the government was warned about when it continues with a currency that only makes up 20% of all transactions, according to Zimstat.

While this quarter has not yet finished, on of November 30, Treasury revealed in the 2024 National Budget that the nominal GDP at market prices was ZW$119,01 trillion or US$20,55 billion.

So, we are living in such a volatile economy that it can either lose US$3,87 billion in one quarter, as was the case between the first and second quarters or gain about US$13 billion from the third to fourth quarter.

It is a highly volatile situation that should not be ignored.

This is why it is hard to plan for either the consumers or businesses because incomes are constantly being eroded.

Despite all of this, the government enjoys giving the ‘all clear,’ the thumps up, as to it the numbers point to a recovery.

The only problem the reality is most wages and business incomes have lost significant value as the local currency has lost over 700% of its value, against the greenback, officially, year to date.

Unofficially? The Zimbabwe dollar has depreciated by 1 100% to a current forex rate of US$1:ZW$12 000 from US$1:$1 000 at the start of the year.

It means that even the government is confused with itself.

Of course, behind the scenes we know that it knows that the economy is in shambles, but the government can never admit to that because the government has the ‘best Finance minister’ in Africa.

My only concern is the figures point to confusion, massive confusion, as the numbers from Zimstat are horrendous to say the least, mind boggling, and confusing.

This is why on Monday; the International Monetary Fund gave a vote of no confidence in the current team at Zimstat and its use of methodology in determining key economic metrics.

Basically, when Zimstat reports figures like this, introspection is needed because eventually the reality of the economy will catch up with whatever it is government is telling us.



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