OPINION

Mthuli Ncube’s Austerity Measures Turning Zim Into A House Of Hunger

By ZIMCODD

The current economic meltdown in Zimbabwe is slowly turning the Southern African country into a “house of hunger.”

The ushering in of a new dispensation in the famous month of November 2017 ignited a sense of hope among Zimbabweans, with the majority hoping for socioeconomic turnaround after years of economic stagnation. Nevertheless, it all remained a pie in the air, with Zimbabweans now in a worse off situation than before.

From bizarre bread price hikes and the entire rise in prices for basic commodities and services, shocking data hikes, deteriorating health services and the overall economic recession, citizens are continuously impoverished and wallowing in abject poverty.

Despite the depressing situation citizens are suffocating under, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development claims that the Transitional Stabilisation Programme anchored on austerity for prosperity has led to economic growth. The Minister is reported having claimed that due to TSP, the country registered 4 percent growth in its gross domestic product (GDP) in 2018, marginally down from the initially set growth target of 4,5 percent. To access the media report click here.

Furthermore, the government of Zimbabwe has already reported revenue surplus for December 2018 and January 2019. The declared surplus is not congruent to the socioeconomic situation in the country where an ordinary citizen’s life has not improved. It is disheartening that the government is concentrating on quantitative growth of the economy without matching it to the material conditions of the citizens.

It is worrisome that the so called growth has not translated into improved living conditions for the general citizenry. The much celebrated economic growth comes at a time when the country is grappling with socio-economic woes characterized by deplorable public social service delivery and where 70% of the country’s population is languishing in poverty.

Evident successes are in fiscal consolidation and discipline, the removal of various pricing distortions, monetary sector and currency reforms, infrastructure rehabilitation, and Doing Business Environment reforms which will attract investment.” Prof. Mthuli Ncube. The claims that pricing distortions have been removed are alarming when in actual fact the prices of individual commodities are not following the laws of supply and demand, in a free market economy Zimbabwe is currently pursuing. Currency shortages and uncertainties coupled with looming hyperinflation are continually fuelling cost distortions and what makes the problem more complex is the fact that skyrocketing prices has eroded the buying power of the majority whose incomes remained stagnant. The removal of pricing distortions will remain a fallacy if the currency issue is not resolved once and for all and ensure that there is consistency in the currency regime.

The claims that pricing distortions have been removed are alarming when in actual fact the prices of individual commodities are not following the laws of supply and demand, in a free market economy Zimbabwe is currently pursuing. Currency shortages and uncertainties coupled with looming hyperinflation are continually fuelling cost distortions and what makes the problem more complex is the fact that skyrocketing prices has eroded the buying power of the majority whose incomes remained stagnant.

The removal of pricing distortions will remain a fallacy if the currency issue is not resolved once and for all and ensure that there is consistency in the currency regime.

In terms of fiscal discipline, it does not suffice to say that the government has made success as claimed by the Finance Minister up until a time when there is evident transparency and accountability in fiscal management.

As it stands, fiscal management in the country is shrouded in secrecy, lack of accountability with misappropriation and abuse of public funds being the order of the day as evidenced by the recent Zimbabwe National Roads Administration Authority (ZINARA) Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) scandal where reports claim that more than $1 million was abused under the pretext of being a fund for the road administrator’s CSR activities. Transparency and accountability remain low hanging fruits for the government and what is required is honouring constitutional and associated legislative provisions on public finance management.   

With the government cheering austerity measures, citizens are grappling with high cost of living in an economy crumbling at its knees. Evidence of economic growth should manifest itself through improved material living conditions for the ordinary citizens.

Share

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button
Show Buttons
Hide Buttons

Adblock Detected

Our website depends on Advertisements. That is how we keep the lights on. We promise that the Adverts running on our site are neither invasive nor malicious. Please disable your adblocker so you can access our content