Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube, who is under fire even from Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front legislators because of the continuing economic crisis in the country, says Zimbabwe is doing well in its economic reform agenda.
He told Zimpapers Television Network that the country had made a lot of progress since in unveiled its transitional stabilisation programme in October last year.
“If you look at our record on fiscal consolidation we have eliminated the deficit. So tick that box, we have achieved that. If you look at the progress that we have made on the State enterprises agenda and earlier we were talking about the progress regarding CSC, regarding ZUPCO and we have moved on to ZESA and GMB de-bundling, dealing with governance issues and Allied Timbers,” he said.
“So that’s a lot of progress. As I speak now, if you look at the institutional agenda basically, the POSA Bill is before Parliament now and we have also reported on the Freedom of Information Bill, which will repeal AIPPA once it is approved by Parliament. Again we have made a lot of progress on that, so what I mean judging us in six months is that we will walk the talk on our economic reform agenda.”
The Cold Storage Company has secured a partner, Boulstead Beef of the United Kingdom, which has promised to invest US$130 million over the next five years.
Zimbabwe has also signed agreements to procure 800 buses to boost its public transport system under ZUPCO.
On the burning issue of inflation, Ncube said: “I have always maintained that inflation will remain high until October this year and it is a technical phenomenon because we have changed the base of inflation and then by year end it will then come down. So, for example, this time next year it should be much lower than what it is. By the way I welcome what the retailers have done which is self-regulating in terms of increasing prices and that’s what it should be.
“There is no justification for prices to go up the way they are doing and the retailers using the parallel rate to determine the prices. That is bad economics, that’s bad finance and that is not how it is done. If you produce a good locally what will work out is the import component within that and it is never a 100 percent. So it can’t be that whenever the exchange rate rises you raise your prices. So the move by retailers shows that we are beginning to engage again in a constructive dialogue and that is most welcome.”
Ncube told Parliament on Wednesday that Zimbabweans must stop thinking in United States dollar terms by pegging prices on the US dollar and then converting to the local RTGS dollar.
“I urge Members to use that as their accounting currency. Shall we go back to comparing our salaries to the pound that we used to use during UDI, shall we go back to comparing our salaries to other currencies that we have used in the past?” he said.
“Let us move on and we have a currency right now and let us use that as our accounting currency in our arguments. It will help our arguments and negotiations if our employees are able to argue their case on the bases of the current currency arrangement and as well as the current levels of inflation.”