Economic turmoil: Anything to cheer in 2017?

The dreary year 2016 comes to an end within 96 hours at a time when the intensity of suffering endured by Zimbabweans has heightened due to an unyielding cash crisis that has dampened the festive spirit.

Source: Economic turmoil: Anything to cheer in 2017? – NewsDay Zimbabwe December 28, 2016

Opinion: LEARNMORE ZUZE

Government’s continued failure to meet its revenue targets and improve the general livelihood of the people in a crisis-saddled nation has not inspired confidence at all.

Normally, the coming in of a New Year should usher hopes for better prospects, but it would appear, for the star-crossed southern African country, it’s a case of the same problems spilling into a different year.

Honestly, there is nothing to look forward to except more turmoil, with all indications painting an opaque economic outlook.

This, I say, not as a pessimist, but optimism would definitely be misplaced under the circumstances; facts on the ground incontestably point to a ship that can only sink deeper, with the captain sleeping on the wheel.

This is one reason I have had to contend with the deception peddled by pretentious prophets, who continue to promise Zimbabweans a never-coming prosperity.

On December 31, we are set to be bombarded by the same tired lie of “great harvest” or “economic restoration”.

In essence, it can be firmly said that these prophets are simply propping up laziness and acting as diversionary tools for lazy politicians.

Zimbabwe, as a country, needs hands that will work and pragmatic policies that can turn around the economy.
A nation cannot heap its economic fortunes on miracles or miracle workers.

Even more, it must be emphatically stated that honesty and transparency would be critical factors if government is serious with turning around the economy.

There is absolutely no point trying to make-believe that all is well when those on the ground clearly see otherwise.

In all honesty, how can anyone, in all seriousness, say Zimbabwe’s economy is on the mend and is set to grow massively in 2017?

It was widely reported in State media that the ruling party has trained its focus on the economy, projecting growth in 2017 and 2018.

This was further substantiated by Finance and Economic Development minister Patrick Chinamasa, who said the economy was moving in the right direction.

Surely, such postulating and showboating will not do much good for the already battered economy. Let’s be practical and honest about the current problems.

The challenges faced by this nation, even the cash crisis, can be squarely traced back to extremely low productivity across all sectors of the economy.

There is simply no productivity in Zimbabwe and this is reflected in the economy and the crises the country faces every day.

As long as industry continues to die and everyone being turned into vending, then it is imprudent for anyone to talk of an economy on the mend.

There can be no miracles about this; Zimbabwe needs to get its priorities right, something which is clearly absent in the present administration.

Zimbabwe’s problems should not be linked to the supernatural at all.

That we have a government grappling with a huge wage bill chewing 91% of the national budget tells a simple story: such an administration is weighed down and can’t move forward.

Chinamasa’s calls for civil service reforms aimed at cutting the wage bill were on the right path, but unfortunately, were deposed by populist policies and the result is the suffering characterising Zimbabweans daily.

It was something of an anathema for any worker, no matter their designation, to go past Christmas without something as fundamental as a monthly salary, but this has become the norm over the years.

A pay is legally recognised as one of the fundamental rights of the employee, not dependent on anything, but should be awarded with no qualms.

Doesn’t it scar the government’s conscience that children of civil servants had to watch other children enjoy Christmas while they could only look on?

What hope should the nation carry into 2017, seeing as it is that the very circumstances that blanketed the depressing 2016 are the very conditions being carried into 2017?

Growth projections were revised downwards for 2016 from 2,7% to 0,6% in 2015 and the trend is set to continue.

There is nothing that remotely suggests that there would be an end to the massive job losses that have signified both 2015 and 2016. Companies are set to further shut down.

Even more, government’s attempts to protect local industry by introducing an import ban on July 1 through Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016 was actually a source of consternation among locals whose very livelihood hinges on buying products from neighbouring countries for resale back home.

These kinds of policies won’t aid the Zimbabwean cause.

While the country managed to clear its arrears with International Monetary Fund, such clearance is hollow without genuine commitment to key reforms.

It looks apparent; there is nothing to cheer as another gloomy year beckons.

Learnmore Zuze writes in his own capacity. E-mail: lastawa77@gmail.com

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 1
  • comment-avatar
    VaChihera: Professor 5 years ago

    Dear Zimbabweans,
    I am sincerely wishing you all a Wonderful and Prosperous New Year, 2017. You deserve it as you toil, break your backs in the country 12 million and outside the country 4 million. You are an amazing nation of high level of intelligence, wisdom and peace loving. The dying dictatorship is looting your hard earned cash, cleaning the RBZ as to it, there is NO tomorrow. Let’s unite and record all the looting details to recover the billions when we get UN support. It’s time to lobby both the East and West to save the beautiful people abd country. I agree with the author that we owe it to the future generation to be honest, anti corrupt but more so to be productive ALL of us. The civil service is NOT blotted. The health sector is grossly understaffed by 11,000 nurses, and some 3000 other professionals. This is largely due to mismanagement of the PUBLIC finances. How does anyone normal justify numerous trips abroad from inadequate taxes in a drought year? That’s why I say we have LUNATICS at the helm of GOZ and that Party’s Women’s League!!! The MP to be a Minister must pay homage in looting the GOZ Parastatals and private businesses may be by more than 10%. Why else are they shamelessly protected when they steal from public coffers?? What does a nation do to undo this scenario??? This is the QUESTION we have to answer if we are to survive! Happy Festive Season. VaChihera: Professor