16 April 2017

Zimbabwe: Cornered Govt Slammed for Ambush Economic Policies

THE country's opposition has slammed the Zanu PF led government's ad hoc measures to deal with a revolting economy which has further been weighed down by a crippling cash crisis.

In separate interviews with NewZimbabwe.com weekend, the MDC-T and PDP said no amount of ambush policies by the country's current rulers can dig the economy out of its deepening abyss.

A shrinking economy has seen government introduce a raft of measures in attempts to draw revenue from a highly informalised economy.

This has been accompanied by measures by the central bank to deal with a recurrent liquidity crisis that has seen business and ordinary citizens now stashing cash in their bedrooms.

Faced with a shrinking economy which has seen only 10 percent of the national purse going towards developmental projects with the rest gobbled up by government wages, the finance ministry recently introduced a wave of taxes on informal businesses such as hair salons and commuter transport.

So scrupulously does the government intend to run the operation that even hair salons will be taxed $10 per chair every month.

The Zanu PF-led administration has also moved to increase fines on vehicular traffic related offences.

Through its tax collector, Zimra, the government also announced plans to start monitoring the activities of high spenders to see if they were honouring their tax obligations.

The central bank, on the other hand has introduced cash withdrawal limits, barred the carrying of amount exceeding US$1,000 out of the country and lately, the imposition of a $20 cap in the cash back facility by retailers and wholesalers.

This, according to PDP finance and economic affairs secretary Vince Musewe, was proof the current administration has reached its wits end and cannot be trusted to still invent any fresh ideas capable of saving the country from its economic hole.

"They are in crisis, groping at anything that smells money," Musewe said.

"We now have a rent seeking culture because of the decimation of the formal economy. That is typical of an economy that is fast running out of oxygen.

"Until we deal with the fundamental structural issues including prudent developmental fiscal policy, nothing will change."

MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said the only solution left for the country to restore its yesteryear economic prosperity was for the entire government to exit from power.

"As long at Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF remain in power, Zimbabweans can simply forget about any socio-economic development and turnaround," Gutu said.

"This regime is utterly and completely clueless. Through decades of mismanagement and unprecedented corruption, the Zanu PF regime had trashed and vandalised the Zimbabwean economy and left it as a small, struggling and largely informalised entity.

"The regime has introduced ruinous economic policies in the past such as the introduction of bond notes that have virtually led o the collapse of the formal banking sector as people can no longer access their hard-earned money."

The Zanu PF government has often blamed the rot on the effects of western imposed sanctions on President Mugabe, his inner circle and associated firms.

Last year, the government found cover behind a devastating drought period insisting they had no powers to change the weather patterns.

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