We can’t breathe 

Source: We can’t breathe – NewsDay Zimbabwe

Prof Mthuli Ncube . Chief Economist and Vice President of African Development Bank @ Michaelangelo Hotel Jhb . 10 July 2014 . Pics Russell Roberts

THE cost of goods and services keeps soaring daily, squeezing life out of ordinary citizens and yet authorities claim, with no sense of remorse, that all is well. Considering the speed at which the forex exchange rates are rising, the outlook looks bleak for the general public.

The parallel forex market has run riot.

One requires between $550 and $600 to buy just US$1, one of the most sought-after commodities on the domestic market as the local unit continues to depreciate.

The pain of accessing a currency to buy goods for the home is also being felt on the official forex market where one now requires at least $325 to buy US$1.

The problem is that most consumers earn in Zimbabwe dollars, yet all shops now demand foreign currency.

And just like the many exchange rates, prices for goods and services are now many for one product owing to the different exchange rates and also depending on what form of payment one is using.

It is a demonstration of the collapse of an economy. But authorities still think they can stick to populist measures and win the war.

The markets have their own language, which must be adhered to, or the slowdown will continue.

The sad thing about this regrettable reality, however, is that the authorities do not care.

Finance minister Mthuli Ncube keeps saying “the economy is on track” while his boss, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, blames his administration’s failures on phanthom “economic saboteurs”.

Though there has been raging debate on who was better — colonial regime or majority rule, we believe that this debate is uncalled for. Otherwise that is why Zimbabweans waged a protracted liberation war to emancipate ourselves and gain universal suffrage.

Citizens should look forward, work together and unlock the economic value of the country of our birth. Leaders come and go. This should sink in our leaders’ minds.

Looking at the value of the Zimbabwe dollar to the greenback, inflation, public debt, better healthcare, improved social services, and wages, all the things needed for a stable economy have deteriorated.

We urge our current owners not to bury their heads in the sand. The people need solutions. If they have failed, why not pass on the leadership baton to others?

What is not in doubt is that there was a time when Zimbabwe functioned, and people’s livelihoods were meaningful.

This is why government’s refusal to accept its failures in order to keep the status quo is very disturbing.

Instead of seeing shadows and plotting to annihilate the so-called economic saboteurs, government should accept economic realities rocking the nation and speedily address the price madness before things get out of hand.

No Mthuli, things are not well. How do you say “zvinhu zvakarongeka” (things are well) when the country is in a mess like this? Behave!