2016 a transformative year: Mangudya

HARARE - Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya has declared 2016 “a transformative year” in which companies must increase production to help improve the country’s competitiveness on the international market.

The central bank chief told businessdaily on Monday that the solution to halt economic decline lies in improved production from all sectors of the economy.

“The solution to sustained economic growth is not based on the strength of a nation’s currency but on production,” he said adding that any currency in the world is strengthened by production.

“Our major focus for next year should be on production and for us to achieve a turnaround in our economic fortunes we need to be competitive, disciplined and productive,” Mangudya said.

This comes as Zimbabwe’s economy has been on a downturn spiral for more than a decade since President Robert Mugabe’s government oversaw the often violent eviction of white farmers under controversial land reforms.

The country’s economy was expected to grow by 1,5 percent this year from an initial target of 3,2 percent after a drought hit agriculture output while weak commodity prices reduced earnings from mineral exports and power shortages have affected industry and mines.

Deflation has taken root as consumer demand shrinks and the economy struggles with a shortage of dollars.

Once-bustling factories in Zimbabwe’s major cities and towns are now rusty shells, devastated by the 1999-2008 recession that cut gross domestic product (GDP) by about half.

In addition, the mines are reeling from the fall in commodity prices and a drought has left 16 percent of the population needing food aid.

Formal unemployment stands at more than 80 percent and power shortages are getting worse.

A recent manufacturing sector survey by the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries indicated that capacity utilisation within the manufacturing sector declined by 2,2 percentage points to 34,3 percent this year, from 36,5 percent last year.

Economic analysts said this demonstrated the failure of combined government and private sector efforts to arrest de-industrialisation, mainly due to the absence of affordable funding to bailout struggling local companies.

The resultant liquidity crisis has also seen the cash-strapped government battling to raise monthly salaries for its workers.

For a year that had more negatives than positives, the cash-strapped government opened talks on fresh loans from the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and African Development Bank for the first time since 2009, when it started defaulting on its foreign debt, which now stands at $10,4 billion or 74 percent of GDP.

Comments (43)

The Governor does not say how companies will increase production in 2016. These companies need to re-equip and re-tool, they need cheap credit as working capital, they need power etc. Is the RBZ and Ministry of Finance providing these businesses a stimulus package to increase production in 2016? The efforts to resolve the $10.4 billion debt for Zimbabwe are appreciated. On the domestic front RBZ and Minister of Finance must come clear on the stock of the domestic debt. There is no transparency on how much govt owes to domestic creditors.Creative accounting will not help. We need a holistic solution to our debt problems b4 Zimbabwe finds itself in a debt trap if it is not already. Without trust,accountability and transparency the re-engagement and debt relief strategies will not work. Creditors are not naive and let alone the Chinese govt.

Peter Bates - 2 January 2016

Is this a prophecy Cde Governor?? Sloganeering will not yield nything but political will to reforms is what's required..the nation is burning please

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