Mnangagwa's govt should consult citizens, stakeholders

Published: 05 July 2019
GOVERNMENT should consistently consult with its citizens and stakeholders in the development and adoption of key policy changes and reforms. This is against the recent reintroduction of the Zimbabwe dollar and ban of the use of the multi-currency basket for internal transactions through Statutory Instrument 142 of 2019.

I strongly believe government should always dialogue with civil society, industry and commerce, the people and other political parties to discuss these monetary reforms.  Understandably, even international financial institutions were caught unaware by government's decision to immediately scrap the multi-currency regime and revive the Zimbabwean dollar as the sole legal tender in the economy.

I believe the return to our local currency is an essential and requisite move to strengthen our monetary policy and be able to leverage our monetary policy instruments.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with Zimbabwe using its own currency, particularly for all in-country transactions.

While the reintroduction of the Zimbabwe dollar has always been an option for government, we hope this time around it has adequate foreign reserves and macro-economic fundamentals to base its stability.

Government had all along promised us through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and the Finance ministry that the local currency could only return while backed by a return to economic fundamentals. Among the key factors that will attract investors to Zimbabwe is policy consistency.

The introduction of the Zimbabwe dollar should be underlined by a strong commitment by the central bank together with government to take the steps needed to ensure that the new currency is perceived as stable by companies, the general public, and the international community.

We hope the ban on the use of foreign currency in local transactions will also be able to contain the thriving black market as the local dollar becomes the only legal tender, nearly a decade after it was decimated by hyperinflation. Government should play its part, hence keep on taking concrete and precise measures to stimulate and improve capacity utilisation in the industrial and manufacturing sector, not to mention the key agricultural and mining sectors.

Zimbabwe should start producing for export because at the moment we are importing even products like maize and wheat which we can easily produce locally.  There is need to resuscitate our agriculture sector, humble ourselves and allocate land based on merit and capacity resuscitate commercial farming and feed the nation as well as exporting outside.

At present Zimbabwe cannot feed itself and there are no exports from agriculture, hence our huge import bill. Government must be seen to be ruthlessly clamping down on corruption and not only talk against it because there is no use for it just paying lip service in the fight against graft.

We hope government will seriously work on restoring market confidence in the local currency and hopefully it will not be reckless by printing of money as will simply push inflation.  Market confidence will also increase if the official exchange rate is determined by the market on a willing-buyer-willing-seller basis as restrictions on the interbank foreign currency market will result in supply shortages and limited trading.

The survival of companies that need imports for manufacturing will depend on the supply of foreign currency on the official market.
We will continue to pray for wisdom among our leaders as they continue to lead us to the promised land of milk and honey and build a Zimbabwe that supports the dreams and aspirations of all its people.

God bless Zimbabwe!
Blessing Kasiyamhuru is president of Zimbabwe Partnership for Prosperity opposition party.
- dailynews


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