IN the past three days, Zimbabweans were desperate for good news — that something positive could come out from President Robert Mugabe’s State of the Nation (Sona) Address on Tuesday and the National Budget presentation, but both turned out to be damp squibs foreboding a bleak future.
Source: Sona, National Budget forebode bleak future – NewsDay Zimbabwe December 9, 2016
Comment: NewsDay Editor
Mugabe might as well have regurgitated last year’s speech, as his promise of an improving economy is the same one he made last year, but as Zimbabweans know, their situation became even worse.
How Mugabe sees an improving economy is quite confusing, as all the indicators point to gloom and doom.
Zimbabwe depends on commodities for its revenue, but international prices remain subdued, meaning mining and agriculture are unlikely to perform any better.
To add insult to injury, there are reports that command agriculture — itself a bizarre policy likely to fail — inputs are being sold on the black market, meaning if our food situation is to improve, it will not be by much.
Where Mugabe gets his optimism for improved economic fortunes is anyone’s guess, as with him at the helm, the situation is likely to worsen.
Worse than the drought and low commodity prices is corruption and a dearth of sound policies that has contributed to Zimbabwe’s downfall.
Whatever policies one can dream of, as long as corruption and nepotism are not dealt with, then the presentation of the budget and Sona are a waste of time and effort.
Mugabe seems to condone corruption and despite his fiery threats to deal with the vice, he has not acted much and this is responsible for the country’s failure.
The President also has to cut spending; reduce the size of the civil service, cut allowances and scrap bonuses and channel this money to the productive sector.
Without addressing corruption and implementing austerity measures, Mugabe can as well forget an improving the economy; it is impossible.
We want Zimbabwe to succeed and we are desperate for it to, but it is difficult to share Mugabe’s optimism.
Then Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa delivered the sucker punch yesterday with his National Budget presentation, which introduced a new tax on the already burdened Zimbabweans among other things.
Chinamasa’s projection is that the economy will grow by 0,6% at the end of 2016 after he had forecast that it would grow by 4,8%.
He further projects a growth of 1,7% next year, which at this rate looks imaginary and far-fetched.
Zimbabwe urgently needs to grow by over two digits for over five years if it is to escape this mess that it finds itself in.
The state of the economy and the projected 1,7% growth are disastrous and other leaders have resigned for less.