FORMER Finance minister and opposition legislator, Tendai Biti, says government’s latest interventions to save the free-falling local currency expose panic in President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration.
Finance minister Mthuli Ncube on Thursday announced a number of measures to stem the spike in prices of basic commodities by lifting duties on all imported goods among other interventions.
“They are panicking. These guys are clueless. They do not know what they are doing.
“We are tired of adhocratic policies. They are doing what is called kick and hope,” Biti told NewsDay.
Biti said Ncube’s measures would not work.
“As I am talking to you now, the rate at the black market is US$1:$3 000,” he said.
“The only solution is to dollarise because their experiment has failed.
“Secondly, the minister proposes to equip the Dutch auction system but it has failed.
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“What is required is to scrap the auction system and float the Zimbabwean dollar, but the key is to dollarise and pay civil servants in US dollars, the issue of introducing gold coins is just instruments of arbitrage.
“This is a country without foreign currency reserves, this is a country with a weak currency, so why does anyone in his right mind mint gold when you have nothing, when you are naked?”
Mnangagwa and his ministers spent hours during the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, discussing the worsening economy amid fears that this will have an effect on the outcome of the general elections.
In its central committee report during the last congress, Zanu PF admitted that economic volatility caused by inflation and exchange rate weakness was spreading discontent among the general masses.
This is also buttressed by the latest Afrobarometer survey which shows that a growing majority of Zimbabweans (72%) say the country is going in the wrong direction.
South Africa-based Zimbabwean political analyst Romeo Chasara said although the economy was going to play a factor in determining the outcome of the election, other factors will also be at play.
“Many people are frustrated with the economy and yes it will be one of the biggest issues against Zanu PF in the 2023 elections,” Chisara said.
“However, there are other issues such as violence and coercion which will work in their favour especially in rural areas.”