Remarks by Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube in the latest 2020 Pre-Budget Strategy Paper that focus will next year shift from austerity to measures to grow the economy, competitiveness and job creation, must have come as sweet news in the ears of many.
Many Zimbabweans have endured various experiences as the Treasury chief and Government worked to realign fundamentals to create jobs, shared and sustainable economic growth.
We must hasten to applaud every Zimbabwean for their patience.
Reconfiguring the economy to perform to its optimum potential and in a sustainable way for the benefit of everyone was always going to take time and a lot of pain, but it had to be done because delays were only going to make things worse and take more pain.
It should go without saying that this economy had gone through the doldrums for nearly two decades and retrieving it from this quagmire, more so with little external funding support, would always take time and come at a great cost to each and every Zimbabwean.
Both President Mnangagwa and Minister Ncube indicated from the outset that the inevitable, but necessary reforms weren’t going to be an event, but a process that would entail a lot of sacrifice and pain to realise the prosperous future that every Zimbabwean dreams about.
Minister Ncube said severe exogenous shocks related to climate change caused drought and Cyclone Idai, which compromised agriculture activities and electricity generation with extended effects on other sectors, had all forced the economy into recession.
Given that the economy is projected to under-perform by as much as three percent to six percent in 2019, the outlook going forward passes for cheers among all positive thinking Zimbabweans.
And if Minister Ncube’s strategy paper is anything to go by, then there is so much for Zimbabweans to be optimistic and rejoice about going into the coming year and beyond; that the glory days are beckoning.
Notably, the Finance Minister has made a commitment to unveil measures; as he eases the foot on austerity measures pedal, aimed at preserving the value of the domestic currency and reduce inflation, which has ruthlessly eroded the value of incomes and people’s savings.
Implementation of reforms outlined in the Transitional Stabilisation Programme, the minister said, was on course, with notable milestones on fiscal consolidation, monetary policy restoration, liberalisation of the foreign exchange market, structural and governance reforms, re-engagement, investment promotion and support for the productive sector.
These reforms present a strong foundation for economic rebound in 2020 and beyond and having experienced the pain and sacrifices both the ordinary citizens and Government officials have endured, we sure have reason to be optimistic after the minister’s assurances.
Minister Ncube said in 2020, the economy is projected to turn around, building on the success of the ongoing reform initiatives and premised on a number of broader assumptions, which would be finely capped by a healthy 4,6 percent growth of the economy.
He said improved rainfall season should enhance agriculture production and electricity generation, with trickle-down effects to all other sectors, which would also see recovery in aggregate demand, improved foreign currency availability and better macro-fiscal stability and business confidence.
This economy has suffered from illegal Western sanctions, which continue to suffocate it, and years of isolation, but we believe Government is doing enough to counter the effects of the illegal economic sanctions and years of recession.