Finance minister calls for patience

Finance minister Mthuli Ncube says the country should give his austerity measures a chance as they seek to stabilise the economy.

Zimbabwe is facing its worst ever economic crisis in a decade characterised by foreign currency shortages, resulting in fuel and food shortages, rising consumer prices and high unemployment among other things.

Since his appointment last year, Ncube has introduced various austerity measures including the controversial two percent tax, salary cuts for civil servants and ordering import duty for vehicles and other goods be paid in foreign currency. However, his measures — though well meant — have found little on or no backing from crisis-weary Zimbabweans.

With his back on the wall, Ncube yesterday said people’s resistance to his moves were due to lack of proper communication from government about its 2030 vision.

“The starting point for our journey is stabilisation. Aware of the difficult reality in which we are operating, the first step is to stabilise the economy to provide a solid foundation for sustainable economic growth,” the Treasury boss said.

He added that there was need for bold and tougher decisions to deal with the twin challenges of budget and trade deficit.

“The main focus therefore is on the need to urgently correct the mismanagement of the budget. For years, government has been spending much more than it had, which destabilised the economy. Simply put, when we came to this office, our national wallet was empty and we had significant debt. Our strategy is to cut down government spending — through eradicating unnecessary expenses and waste — while widening the income base. We can no longer spend what we do not have,” he said.

Under his Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP), which was introduced in October last year, the government made a commitment to reduce expenditure to make room for developmental projects and programmes which support production.

This also includes the privatisation and reform of inefficient parastatals to increase their contribution to the economic development of the country, and reduce their drain on government.

The Oxford-trained academic noted that cutting spending and increasing taxes are not popular measures, and they are not pain-free.

“Many people are struggling and we are aware that we are asking for increased patience, understanding and sacrifice at an already difficult time. But this is the only way. The TSP is like a doctor performing life-saving surgery on the Zimbabwean economy. Yes, the surgery will cause pain, but this pain is the first step towards recovery,” he added.  



    Comments (3)

    The problem with the Gvt in office is lack of communication to the mass, trade unions and civil servants for them to understanding these new reforms .The gvt must explain the con and pro of the reforms through mass,social media,and oral means to clear explain the time frame of the system. It is the right for every citizen take part one way or the other but people wanted figures and results to see the seriousness of gvt in their actions. The labour must be part of the reform so the must chip in their ideas and inputs to be part of it For example how our education and hospitals can be reformed without taking much money from our budget which needed doctors ,teachers and others within these fields to put their heads together Communication with collective ideas will make a better Zimbabwe before look beyond our borders.

    Voice - 8 February 2019

    Finance Minister while some held you high i have always had a problem with your baggage that of the now defunct Barbican Bank where depositors lost millions, that aside. Also your integrity suffered a battering when you accepted a job with the vampire regime that is zanupf for that alone masses cannot be patient with you. Before you were sworn in you had different and perhaps better visions for our economy but that changed overnight when you took oath of office one cannot help but to speculate that your u-turn was coz a zanupf hym book was thrust into your hands. Your policy inconsistence does not not augur well for a finance minister in less than a year at the job you have made unbelievable number of mistakes. Your Command approach to economics demonstrated by your ill-advised 2% tax, your lack of consultation on the TSP is enough for people not to trust your efforts. Government is still spending heavily on luxury the recent visit to Eurasia on an expensive Swiss Jet by ED and hangerson the expensive acquisition of Toyota Landcruisers for senior staffers shows you are not genuine with reducing government expenditure. No single parastatal has been privatised or re-aligned ZTA has just appointed another useless CEO it has KK on an extended sick leave. ED has just appointed another illegal parallel board with his PAC so the lad now has the luxury of his cabinet his PAC and former zanupf deadwood ministers to draw advice from its ridiculously obvious the vision 2030 is a fallacy just like ZIMASSET . Only bush doctors inflict pain to a patient they are treating. So your programmes are not what our Country that is why citizenry cannot be patient anymore moreso after having being patient for over 40yrs.

    Sinyo - 11 February 2019

    I fully support the finance team in Zim Government. At least domestic funds mobilisation is on course. Zimbabwe is very rich and no trips abroad are necessary now and again to borrow. I am disappointed by the slow speed of parastatal reform. Why should it take years to privatise ZUPCO or Air Zimbabwe for example???????????. Manyana manyana is the African way of management. Nothing is urgent in Africa except impregnating a woman.

    Ndiani Ndiani - 28 February 2019

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