Zimbabwe Unity Government to Review Reserve Bank Act – Mutambara

HARARE – The government will soon reform the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Act before addressing the appointment of the RBZ governor Gideon Gono, the deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara has revealed.

Deputy PM Arthur MutambaraSpeaking to civil society leaders at a meeting on the role of the civil society in the all inclusive government in Harare on Friday, Mutambara also charged that Gono’ s appointment was a violation of the RBZ Act and the Global Political Agreement (GPA) signed by the three political parties.

"We are rejecting Gono as the two MDC formations, his appointment and that of Tomana (the Attorney General) was done in violation of the RBZ Act and the GPA, there shall be reforms to the RBZ Act and to the central bank itself and the issue of the incumbency of Gono is still outstanding," Mutambara said.

He cited fresh revelations from the visiting International Monetary Fund (IMF) team that the RBZ owes Zimbabweans an excess of USd 1 billion in unaccounted for funds.

He said the IMF team raised concerns on some ‘areas of activity’ by the RBZ, which the government will deal with.

Mutambara also lashed out at President Mugabe for saying elections will be held in two years time and said the issue of the duration of the all-inclusive government was not agreed upon.

"Contrary to claims by President Mugabe that elections will be held in two years time after the creation of a constitution, the issue is that we did not agree us (MDC-M) and Tsvangirai wanted elections to held after two years but Mugabe wanted to complete his term after five years, so in the end the issue of the duration of the government was left like that," Mutambara said.

Mutambara said the parties then agreed that they will not speak about the duration of the all-inclusive government in public.

"We are quite surprised when Mugabe indicated that he now wants elections in two years time because he refused when we suggested that elections be held in two years, maybe it is because he now has the legitimacy that he needed but he will be butchered if he calls for elections in two years," Mutambara said.

Mutambara has not made his dislike of Gono a secret, immediately after he was sworn in as deputy Prime Minister, Mutambara told business leaders to ignore the monetary policy announced by Gono.

Gono reacted angrily and charged that the monetary policy would not be reviewed.

Meanwhile the state controlled the Herald on Friday revealed that the government has set up a team comprising two ministers and the State Enterprises Restructuring Agency (SERA) to carry out a cost benefit on all parastatals to assess their suitability for privatisation or commercialisation, as Government steps up efforts to mobilise funding for its operations.

"The team comprises of Finance Minister Tendai Biti and the Minister of State Enterprises and Parastatals, Joel Gabbuza Gabuza and SERA officials. Speaking after their first meeting on Wednesday, Minister Biti said they had been given two weeks to come up with a comprehensive report on the parastatals, which they would present to cabinet,’ said the Herald.

"We will be taking a scientific approach in order to come up with a detailed report that we will present to cabinet," Biti was quoted as having said.

The exercise comes at a time Government has recently unveiled a US$1 billion budget and the Short-term Emergency Recovery Programme that will require
USd5 billion.

The commercialisation and privatisation of parastatals started in the early 1990s but since then only a few companies have been privatised. These included CBZ Bank, Dairibord, the Cotton Company of Zimbabwe, Zimre and Rainbow Tourism Group. The privatisation of these former parastatals transformed them into very profitable entities that are competing favourably in the market.

Government however still holds 100 percent shareholding in the National Railways of Zimbabwe, Zesa Holdings, Cold Storage Company, Air Zimbabwe and the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe.

Others include the Industrial Development Corporation, TelOne, NetOne, The Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation, Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe National Water Authority.

Efforts to privatise some of these, which continue to be a drain on the fiscus, has not yielded any fruit to date.