By Robert Tapfumaneyi
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is out of touch with reality, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has said.
ZCTU president Peter Mutasa told newzimbabwe.com in an interview early this week that claims by an RBZ official that Zimbabwe’s economy is “improving and in a better position than what it was in 2008” was off the mark.
Mutasa argued that figures being published by the Central Bank do not tally with the reality on the ground but were only aimed at pleasing the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
“When they are talking about challenges that this country is facing, they don’t talk about issues affecting you and me daily.
“When they talk about austerity to prosperity, they do not tell you that austerity is stealing from the poor to give the rich. They don’t simplify it to mean that way,” Mutasa said.
“The RBZ is not talking about the reality on the ground, they do not talk the reality at Harare Hospital where there is no water and medication for patients because they are the owners of the policies being used by RBZ and government on austerity measures.”
The ZCTU leader said the economic policies being implemented by Mnangagwa are not home grown but created by the IMF.
“They will not talk about children at universities who are going to lectures without having meals because parents cannot afford.
“So when they are talking about the state of the economy improving, they are not worried about issues that affect you daily,” he said.
Zimbabwe’s economy has been in a tailspin since the turn of the century, when then President Robert Mugabe defaulted in servicing loans extended by international multi-lateral institutions.
Mugabe’s land expropriation programme also made things worse as he ran into diplomatic problems with powerful Western governments which slapped him with sanctions effectively turning the country into an international pariah.
His successor President Emmerson Mnangagwa has sought to mend fences with the international community and agreeing economic reforms with the IMF.
An RBZ official was booed early this week at an event after he claimed the economy was on the rebound arguing the country is better off now than what it was at the height of the hyperinflationary era back in 2008.
But Mutasa pointed to rising prices of basic commodities as an indicator of a struggling economy.
“Next week schools are opening and parents are going to face school authorities after failing to pay school fees, that have already been increased drastically.
“Companies are closing and the figures from RBZ do not talk about it. There is abject poverty in this country, unemployment is high, the Central Bank does not talk about the plight of the unemployed with a whole generation of people destroyed,” he said.
“Austerity is about their prosperity and misery for ordinary people.”