'Escalating Zim crises point to disaster'

HARARE - Zimbabwe’s escalating crises point to disaster, with a majority of the long-suffering masses saying the country’s economy is now in a “very bad” state, analysts have warned.

They said the lurching from one crisis to another proves that authorities could “play tricks with politics, but no tricks work when it comes to the economy”.

This comes as the troubled country’s liquidity crisis is deepening by the day, with banks now disbursing coins after running out of the bond notes — a currency surrogate to the United States dollar introduced last year to mitigate the cash shortages.

So bad is the situation such that restive tobacco farmers — who besieged banks last week demanding their cash after crop sales — clashed with police who ended up tear-gassing and bashing them to restore order at the auction floors.

Apart from the crippling cash crisis, the bond notes have fuelled the parallel currency market, as desperate traders seek foreign currency to fund imports, a move which has stoked inflation. 

This week, equities firm IH Securities warned that the country’s inflation will continue to rise, resulting in rising food prices because of the retailers turning to the thriving black market, where they pay steep mark-ups.

Restive tobacco farmers — who besieged banks demanding their cash after crop sales — were teargased and bashed by police a week ago. Pics: Freedom Mashava

In relation to that, the International Monetary Fund has also cautioned that Zimbabwe’s annual inflation could hit a dollar-era record high of 6,6 percent next year, due to rising food prices and election expenditure.

On the back of all this, the country’s moribund economy is dogged by massive unemployment, dwindling national revenue collections and a collapsed service delivery system.

“It shows a dying economy,” Maxwell Saungweme, an analyst, said.

He said government is so far implementing stop-gap measures in solving the country’s challenges.

“It shows that bond notes were a short-sighted attempt at quick-fixing an economy without addressing fundamentals,” he told the Daily News.

“It’s a clear sign you play tricks with politics, but no tricks work with economy,” he said, adding that Zimbabwe “needs drastic measures to inject life into its dying economy”.

Another respected economic analyst, Witness Chinyama, said the protest by frustrated tobacco farmers was only a tip of the iceberg, and a sign of long-running and unaddressed problems.

“The rioting of tobacco farmers is a reflection of cash shortages the country has been experiencing since the introduction of bond notes last year,” he said.

Instead, Chinyama said; “a lot of production is needed in the country to ensure that basic commodities and other things are found locally”.

“This will help reduce Zimbabwe’s dependency on imports,” he said, adding that the government imposed protectionist Statutory Instrument 64 — which barred the importation of many basic commodities, including cereals, rice and cooking oil — “helped stoke inflation”.

He however, said the instrument may “in the long term . . . help with the preservation of foreign currency as most products will be available locally”.

Riot police charge towards the frustrated tobacco farmers.

In its latest report, pan-African think tank Afrobarometer said “almost two-thirds (63 percent) of Zimbabweans consider the present economic condition of the country . . . very bad while only one in five (20 percent) see it as “fairly good”.

“In fact, almost half (48 percent) of the population think that economic conditions have gotten “worse” or “much worse” compared to 12 months ago,” the research organisation — which measures public attitudes on economic, political, and social matters in sub-Saharan Africa — said.

Afrobarometer said while negative assessments of the country’s present economic condition are the majority view in almost all socio-demographic groups, they are especially common among urban residents and better-educated respondents.

“City dwellers are far more likely to describe the economy as fairly/very bad (73 percent) than rural residents (56 percent). Negative assessments increase consistently with educational attainment, from 39 percent

of respondents with no formal schooling to 71 percent of those with post-secondary qualifications.

Older respondents (above age 55) are less negative in their assessments of the economy than their younger counterparts. Perceptions of the country’s economic condition also seem to vary greatly by province. Three fourths of residents in Harare (75 percent) and Manicaland (74 percent) see economic conditions as very bad.”

Hapless tobacco farmers flee after riot police fired teargas.

Comments (4)

Zim is a disaster for real. At this rate, we are doomed.

observer - 12 May 2017

Zimbabwe is a cursed country, probably up until mugabe is out of the picture. As long as its him and Zanu PF their is no hope. Problem after problem.

zimbo - 13 May 2017

Did send second hand cloths and other stuff to an orphanage. I stayed with this kids a while ago. Now mr Taxman is asking $200 tax to hand over this gifts. Thats not tax its theft!!

Mr Ruwa - 13 May 2017

Mugabe is the cause of all this. Mangudya you promised bond notes were for tobaccon framers. what is all this now.

african - 14 May 2017

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