(Last Updated on November 25, 2020 by ZIMDAILY EDITOR)
HARARE – Zimbabwe’s main opposition party, MDC-Alliance on Tuesday said the country’s economy is in shambles and “sinking deeper into unimaginable depths,” marred by a structural crisis that is characterised by massive corruption, low output and a decline in the public sector particularly the health and education sector.
This was said by the party’s vice president, Tendai Biti when he was delivering the opposition’s state of the economy address in Harare.
He added that the crisis was sterming from the political crisis which itself is a result of the interference of the military into the civilian politics and the heavily disputed 2018 harmonised elections.
Biti said the current government had embarked on deceit and distortions in a bid to mask the economic realities which are subjecting people to massive poverty.
“It is common cause that our country is arrested by a multitude of crises. There is a massive dislocation and disequilibrium in the economy. There is broken down social services and social delivery, if you look at the public health delivery system, you find a serious abuse of the hospital stuff…” said Biti during his address.
Zimbabwe is facing a humanitarian crisis in which at least half of the population is in need of food assistance.
The World Food Programme (WFP) projects that the number would increase to 8.6 million people by end of 2020.
This translates to about 60% of the population.
He also highlighted many challenges that came with the Covid-19 pandemic, saying they had exposed the country’s leadership on many areas.
Biti cited that when the pandemic started, Zimbabwe had one isolation center which was still ill-equipped to deal with the outbreak as it had no ventilators, a very small percentage of school children had access to the distance learning during the lockdown and that a fifth of the employed people lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic.
He further said the country had gone back to “depression economics,” characterised by low productivity because of underutilized industries with many industries either closed or being converted into churches across the country.
Biti said there was a weak or low aggregate demand with shops full of goods but people had lost their purchasing power.
He also cited the runaway inflation currently at 759%, second to Venezuela.
“The mismanagement of monetary policy, the creation of money by RBZ, an expansionary fiscal policy, the creation of treasury bills have all contributed to the return of hyperinflation in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe’s rate of inflation standing officially at 759% in August, the second highest in the world,” said the former Minister of Finance.
Biti, however said the opposition party was offering a 10 point plan to get the country’s economy back on it’s feet.
He said this plan was anchored on resolving the political crisis through genuine dialogue in a bid to restore the confidence of the citizenry because this was fundamental to a successful economy.
The plan also included the macro-economic stabilisation based on eliminating fiscal deficits through cutting unnecessary expenditures and spending within the means.
Other pillars of this plan include resolving the land question through giving title deeds to beneficiaries of the land reform programme so that they can access loans to fund their projects, attending to the debt question as Zimbabwe has accumulated massive debt which is hindering it’s access to funds from the different multilateral institutions and also the need to re-engage the international community.
He added that there is need for the government to first re-engage it’s citizens through restoring the rule of law.