HARARE – Treasury has raised Zimbabwe’s economic growth forecast to six percent from an initial projection of 4,5 percent, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said.
Despite the International Monetary Fund (IMF) pegging the country’s 2019 economic growth at 3,6 percent, Mnangagwa yesterday told business leaders that Treasury had assured him the country’s ailing economy would rebound by six percent.
“The minister of Finance assured me that economic growth for this year will stand at six percent from 4,5 percent,” the president said during a meeting with the Zimbabwean private sector in the capital.
The IMF has projected the economy will grow at an average of 4,7 percent between next year and 2023.
Yesterday’s meeting — which came as the country’s economic woes are showing no signs of imminent improvement — was aimed at giving business leaders access to Mnangagwa’s administration and air their grievances.
Presently, commerce and industry has taken a serious beating, a situation that has seen Mnangagwa panic and resort to a heavy-handed approach, amid fears that arresting parallel foreign currency traders and imposing price controls will worsen the situation.
Forex black market rates are persisting on their wild yo-yo ride, while the tide of shocking price hikes, shortages of basic goods and the temporary closure of many businesses across the country continues unabated.
However, Mnangagwa dismissed fears of a 2008 hyper-inflation re-occurrence, arguing his government “has things under control.”
“I am fully aware of the situation… I know there are fears of what happened in 2008 but let me assure you that those fears are just but unnecessary,” he said.
To ensure his administration will be kept abreast of occurrences on the ground, Mnangagwa said plans to establish a Presidential Advisory Committee were now advanced.
“You have already asked for this so what I am now saying is the Business Member Organisations need to provide me with names of their best minds, whether I take these names or not is another story… But plans for the committee are now at an advanced stage.
“You have also asked to meet me twice a year but I will ensure I meet you more than two times because I need your feedback,” the country’s president said.
In the meantime, the information filtering in suggests that many businesses — stressed by the current operating environment — are scaling down their operations, with some even shutting down temporarily.
Equity Axis, a local research firm said: “The Finance ministry has gone into overdrive trying in vain to contain the unravelling economic crisis”.
“It is critical to note that in all instances, what has given the market strength to respond and success thereof is a weaker underlying economy with loopholes for manipulation or allowance for retaliation, having been manipulated in the first instance by government itself” it said yesterday.
— The Financial Gazette