via NewsDay Editorial: Spare us the Zimbabwe dollar scare November 28, 2013 in Editorials, Opinion
The current crisis in the banking sector where people are failing to withdraw their money is a pointer to another economic crisis in the making. There is no better symptom of economic collapse than the failure by banks to provide cash to depositors.
Zimbabweans would not have forgotten that cash shortage was the prelude to the economic disaster of that forgettable period climaxing in 2007-8. Not even the shortest of memories would forget how people had to carry blankets to spend nights at bank queues in order to withdraw money that would become valueless upon receiving it after a 48-hour wait.
That is despite the fact that we were then able to print our own money — as much as the paper and inks at Fidelity Printers could print. When government could no longer print the real currency — albeit valueless — a decision was made to print and issue out bearer cheques which then became the courier of what was to become a world-attraction denomination — the trillion dollar bill.
Now, we are walking the same road once again. And the fear is that authorities will be unable to resist the growing temptation to revert to the Zimdollar, seeing as there is nothing they can do to increase the supply of the increasingly dwindling US dollar supply.
There has been agitation from some quarters within the government and ruling party for the introduction of the Zimdollar and the cash crisis could seem to vindicate the reasoning for this kind of thinking — but we must urge restraint and caution.
Any attempt to go back to an unsupported Zimdollar just for the sake of making available valueless paper money, will sink this country irretrievably. The solution to the kind of problem we have can never be as simple as printing paper in the hope of transforming it into money.
That is not a solution, but a means to a deeper grave. Our problems are a combination of politics, economics and discipline. Our economic policies — most of which are warped – are instructed by political decisions. Economic discipline too, is virtually non-existent — again because of our politics.
These are the issues that the people that rule this country ought to address without fear or favour. There is no doubt we are not able to access foreign direct investment because of policies that are self-defeating. There is no doubt again that we have allowed massive looting of national resources that ought to have propped up the economy — owing to a virtual absence of discipline.
As a result, we have in Zimbabwe individuals that have more money than Patrick Chinamasa would need to present the usual hunter-gatherer budget. We have individuals that can buy whole cities if they wished to — and avail more instant cash than most banks are able to in a week!
But the source of that money cannot be questioned because the hands of those with the authority to do so are dirty too. So they lie about lack of evidence to prosecute.
These are the same individuals who will want to see the return of Zimdollar, so they can multiply their filthy wealth — while the people wallow in abject misery!
But again, they must be reminded that survival instinct has the last word!