Ministers lying to ED: Economist

Mugano, who was booted out of the Zimtrade board last week, said the figures presented by Mnangagwa were contrary to the reality on the ground.

GOVERNMENT critic and economist Gift Mugano on Saturday took a dig at President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration saying his ministers were misinforming their leader on the state of the economy.

This follows Mnangagwa’s announcement during the State of the Nation Address (Sona) that the Zimbabwe’s mining and health care sectors had witnessed a tremendous improvement.

Mugano, who was booted out of the Zimtrade board last week, said the figures presented by Mnangagwa were contrary to the reality on the ground.

“Ministers are misleading @edmnangagwa on the state of the economy and economic progress. During the State of the Nation Address @edmnangagwa reported that the mining sector has grown to US$12 billion up from US$2,8 billion in 2017,” said Mugano on X (formerly Twitter).

Despite the government launching an ambitious plan to create a US$12 billion mining industry by 2023, the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe last year said the country’s mining sector will generate US$7 billion next year, as the industry would be held back by high operational costs, rolling power cuts and a projected global recession

“In some fora Mnangagwa  reported that the agricultural sector rose from US$5,7 billion to around US$8 billion in 2023. Using the mining sector and agricultural sector GDPs (gross domestic products)  reported by him, it means that these two sectors add up to US$20 billion which is the current size of our economy. For avoidance of doubt Zim GDP as at 11 August 2023 stood at ZWL$120,3 trillion, ie, US$20 billion at official exchange rate,” Mugano said.

He said a recent publication by ZimStat indicated that the mining sector’s contribution to the economy stands at 13%.

“In view of this, if we want to be mathematically correct and estimate the equivalent value of GDP which should give us a US$12 billion mining sector economy, it would mean that the size of the Zimbabwe economy is now exactly US$92,3 billion.

“The question which arises here is that if the mining and agricultural sectors make up the entire economy in terms of GDP, are we saying that other sectors such as manufacturing and services sectors have abruptly reduced to zero?” he asked.

Mugano also took a swipe at Mnangagwa’s presentation at the United Nations General Assembly, saying he had lied about the country’s health sector.

“When Mnangagwa was making a presentation at the UN General Assembly he said that his government has built a vibrant healthcare system yet the reality is that our healthcare system is severely strained and has serious shortages of critical requirements such as drugs, consumables, critical equipment and personnel with no redress from the responsible authorities. Verifiable and credible information is key for economic planning and economic development,” he said.

Mugano added that in the view that the services sector constitutes 60% of the economy, while the remaining 40% is shared between the mining, manufacturing and agricultural sectors, the government should religiously share credible statistics and reports on the performance of the economy.

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