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Mangudya betrays frustration as cash crisis puzzle eludes him

He lists all the things that need to be done but that he cannot do; cutting the deficit, reducing state spending, executing structural reforms that increase investor confidence, transforming state owned enterprises, enforcing law and order and issuing bankable 99-year leases.

Until Zimbabwe can generate more foreign currency, there is nothing more I can do, Mangudya is saying. He has the disturbing data to show it.

Currently, just five products – tobacco, gold, platinum, chrome and diamonds – are earning 85 percent of the country’s foreign exchange. Of the country’s 13 commercial banks, only six have exporting clients on their books.

“Zimbabwe needs to produce and create exports. Foreign exchange must be earned and spent wisely in order to survive. There is no substitute for this narrative as the country’s external position is already weakened by more than 16 years of economic and international isolation,” Mangudya says.

There is nothing Mangudya can do about all this. He cannot end the 16 years of isolation; in the corridors of power, those seeking reengagement are being called sell-outs.

Mangudya cannot force a cut on state spending either. Just this past weekend, President Robert Mugabe reversed a decision to lay off 2 000 youths who are leeching off the Government payroll without doing any work.

Mugabe claimed the retrenchments were never approved, but they were in fact part of the Public Service Wage Bill rationalisation measures approved by Cabinet in November 2015, and a key step in Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa’s reform and debt relief plan.

Mangudya cannot force state enterprise reforms.

A proposed law to improve the management of parastatals, the Public Entities Corporate Governance Bill, has been blunted by ministers who fear losing control of the state companies they use as feeding troughs.

The central bank chief cannot force Government to respect law and order; chaos is what keeps ZanuPF in power.

The 99-year leases that may put transferable value to land may never come, as they may disrupt the patronage system that sustains the ruling party.

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