Some economists and business executives say policy inconsistencies in President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government are to blame for the current chaotic economic situation in the country where prices of basic commodities are skyrocketing while others have vanished from store shelves.
This came out Thursday evening in a televised discussion convened by Zimpapers TV Network and Voice of America livestreamed on social media platforms featuring Industry Minister Nqobizitha Ndlovu, Dairibord chief executive officer Anthony Mandiwanza, businessman Shingi Munyeza, economist Brains Muchemwa, Denford Mutashu of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers and others.
Muchemwa fired the first salvo saying the government should take the blame for the chaos in the financial sector, which resulted in the emergence of black markets for basic commodities and a sharp rise in prices of basic goods.
“My point is that generally when you have a market that is as delicate as that of Zimbabwe it’s very important to have very consistent policies and utterances so that you at least you don’t create havoc. It’s quite unfortunate that the current upheavals that we have seen in the market can only be attributed to none other than the policy makers themselves. It has nothing to do with the market. The market was reacting to what the policy makers were saying.
“I think going forward there is at least some unison in government when pronouncing policies because it’s quite unfortunate to find a government that contradicts itself so loudly to the extent that it creates havoc in the market.”
His views were echoed by Mandiwanza, who noted that the business community does not have confidence in the financial market.
He said as a result of this loss of confidence “both the consumer and the supplier are unable to predict replacement costs. May you tell the consumer out there to understand whether the bond and the RTGS are one to one with the U.S dollar.”
He further noted that the recent 14% hike in some Daribord products was due to market forces that determined prices of some commodities.
In response to these queries, Ndlovu noted that the Zimbabwean government is doing all it can to stabilize the financial market in order to create a conducive environment for business operations.
“We don’t have to lose sight of our long-term goals because of our current challenges … (In terms of policies) As government we are consistent. There is one to one convertibility of the bond U.S dollar if I may use that term and RTGS and government is making all the necessary measures to make sure that this happens. I’m sure we heard a few days ago when our finance minister was in Bali (Indonesia for international finance meeting) he did highlight that to the nation. So, these are in my view temporary challenges that ought not to derail our progress towards our vision.”
The financial market has been unstable of late in Zimbabwe, which once experience historic inflationary rates that led to the abandonment of the local currency in 2009 in favor of multiple currencies.