Gono saved Zim: Chinamasa

HARARE - Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa yesterday defended former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono’s quasi-fiscal activities, saying the interventions were necessary to save the economy from collapse.

The trained lawyer told the parliamentary portfolio committee on Finance, which was gathering evidence on the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Debt Assumption Bill, that government had assumed the central bank’s $1,2 billion debt after realising that the money was used to prop up Zimbabwe during the hyper-inflationary period.

“The quasi-fiscal activities were taken in an emergency situation,” Chinamasa said.

“The country was under a state of emergency as the economy was going down and the RBZ was now running the economy as an agent of the government,” Chinamasa said.

Responding to questions raised by David Chapfika, chairman of the Finance committee and Bikita West MP Munyaradzi Kereke on how the $1,2 billion debt was accrued, the Treasury boss rallied to Gono’s defence.

Both Kereke and Chapfika have in the past had fierce rows with the ex-Central Bank chief.

“We should not personalise these matters and blame the Reserve Bank for these actions,” Chinamasa said.

“Some of the money was used for agriculture mechanisation programme aimed at supporting the land reform because some of our farmers did not have hoes, let alone capital,” he said.

Chinamasa’s statement gives Gono the last laugh, if not a rare moment of Schadenfreude at the expense of his detractors, with officials acknowledging that he made tremendous contribution to Zimbabwe during its trying times.

The Harare businessman, who retired after a 10-year tenure in December 2013, was at the forefront of President Robert Mugabe’s fight against “crippling economic sanctions.”

During the quasi-fiscal operations of the hyper-inflationary era, all roads led to Gono and the Central Bank.

Analysts say not a single government office, Parliament included, the judiciary, defence forces, State security, prisons, police, embassies, parastatals, local authorities, newspaper groups, ZBC radio and TV, and virtually all sectors of the economy which were not assisted one way or the other by the former central bank chief who today is blamed for the collapse of the Zimbabwe economy.

During yesterday’s debate, Gono’s former advisor and former deputy minister of Finance, Kereke and David Chapfika, chose to personalise the RBZ  debt matter although they were at one point involved with the RBZ operations.

Critics who spoke to the Daily News wondered why the Kereke/Chapfika and Gono feud was being allowed to cloud real issues in the august House.

Gono has in the past said quasi-fiscal measures were necessitated by a complete “abrogation of duty by some of the responsible government ministries, boards and management teams at some of the parastatals and local authorities”.

During his tenure, he rolled out such facilities as the Productive Sector Facility to assist companies to access cheap funding to boost production across all sectors of the economy and in a bid to boost production.

On the other hand, Gono also introduced the Agriculture Sector Productivity Enhancement Facility, the Parastatals and Local Authorities Re-orientation Programme and then the Basic Commodities Supply Side Intervention.

Because not every sector accessed the money, the programmes did not work out according to plan, as companies would buy expensive inputs from other sectors that were not covered, which did not help in reducing the prices.

In the end, the RBZ got engaged in non-productive sector financing. 

Chinamasa, who was accompanied by RBZ governor John Mangudya, was also taken to task by legislators over the demonetisation of the Zimbabwean dollar.

Various MPs demanded that government put a demonetisation programme under the RBZ Assumption Bill Debt as part of efforts to restore confidence in the banking sector.

Chinamasa ruled out putting the programme under the RBZ Assumption Debt Bill saying that it was another matter that was going to be handled separately by government.

Treasury last year was yet to determine the exchange rate to use in settling payments of Zimbabwean dollar account holders.

Comments (23)

The Government and Zanu PF could be history as we speak if it was not for the interventions made by this man. It is surprising that this man is now being shunned by the same people he served.

jackovick - 3 February 2015

These crooks will forever defend each other... mafia style

Milton - 3 February 2015

va chinamasa ndimubvunzo, matarakita nengoro ma harvesters amakatora ku rbz makabhadhara here nokuti isu ma peasants hatina chatakawana. makudakuti hurumende i bhadhare zvikwereti zvezvinhu zvamakatora for personal gain.ndumbavha hwatinotaura nguva dzose. takatarisa.

kumabharaima.com - 3 February 2015

Gono and his zeroes may have rescued Zanu-PF big time but definately not the majority of Zimbabweans who lost revenue and income, property and many working years. I don't want to talk about pensioners, many of whom died as a result of that "quasi-fiscal" environment. ANd bfore you start praising Gono ask yourselves how you got there and please don't hide behind sanctions because you must have seen them coming. You can't provoke a wild bull and expect it to ignore!!

selele - 3 February 2015

No he didnt. He prolonged our pain. Who need a phd to print and spend money on quasi activities?

Gonzo - 3 February 2015

In 2004 when Gono took over, the country was on a very sound footing. He then started running the central bank as a private Sacco and you describe that as saving the people. Ingafamba here nyika yacho.

Timothy Thorton - 3 February 2015

"Some of the money was used for agriculture mechanisation programme aimed at supporting the land reform because some of our farmers did not have hoes, let alone capital,” Chinamasa said. Laughable stuff. How can you give land to someone who does not even have a hoe and call that "successful" land redistribution. We are being treated by this government like baboons which can claim to own all the mountains in the village but still starve! Hahahahah!

Kunda Kinde - 3 February 2015

@Kunda Kinde: This is the problem when emotions rule over rationality. Land raises emotions all over Africa for both blacks and whites and instead of fueling these emotions, a responsible government should have taken time to make warkable strategies. The writing was on the wall. So now that little success we have in argriculture looks bravado because people forget the price which was paid for it. Evrything was sacrificed for that harp-harzard land project.

selele - 3 February 2015

Thats a stupid lie. The headline should read "Gono saved zanu pf" ...

charakupa - 3 February 2015

Gono destroyed Zimbabwe and attempted to save ZANUpf. What has sustained ZANUpf to date is its culture of violence and thuggery. And whilst at it I think its only fair for the RBZ to ask every recipient of farming equipment from RBZ to pay for what they received. There is no justice or justification in asking the nation to pay for what is benefiting individual families,

Kufakwejeyi - 3 February 2015

do not take us back to those horrible years. you now pretty well that Gideon idofo spendimg the whole day running after old women in Makokoba uchiti vari kutengesa maPula. tubrain twenyu tune ngura. shit mhani!!!

herber - 4 February 2015

He did not save me he stole all my money stole savings from a 83 year old man shame shame shame .

jack - 4 February 2015

My FCA account was confisticated. My employer lost 2 million us and was forced to lay off almost ALL workers. We were forced to sell products below purchase price after he "halfed" prices from one second to the next. he plundered ALL RBZ gold reserves. His only achievement was stealing enough money to pay Zanu-Pf and the Army commanders. He encouraged patronage politics in Argriculture and the farming impliments were bought on credit. Tax payers are still paying for them up to now!! Gonomics and his "quantitavive easing" madness was a disaster for normal people who have nothing to do with political games.

selele - 4 February 2015

"Quasi-fiscal " activities, i believe these were activities outside the budget!, how can you spend what you dont have and not expect consequences, he was neither right nor wrong because his handlers expected him to deliver

fire links(able weathers) - 4 February 2015

Oh so Chinamasa thing Gono saved Zimbabwe. And so why the heck did we have that runaway inflation, lose our currency and hit rock bottom. They are all rotten to the core. Repent for judgment comes!

Righteous Justice - 4 February 2015

Sic

Sic - 4 February 2015

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