‘Clueless’ Mthuli Hoping On Nehanda’s Spirit To Keep Economy Afloat: Biti

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By Staff Reporter

FORMER Finance Minister Tendai Biti says the current head of Treasury Mthuli Ncube is “clueless and incompetent” who hopes that God or the spirit of Mbuya Nehanda will keep the economy afloat.

Ncube presented his 2021 Mid-Term Review (MTR) statement last Thursday, but according to Biti it was a “terrible exercise in self absorbency, vainglory, and narcissism”.

“A mid-term statement is not mandatory and where there is no message or policy direction sometimes silence is golden. The country faces humongous challenges,” Biti, who is the MDC Alliance vice president, said.

In his MTR, Ncube reviewed the gross domestic product (GDP) target upwards to 7,8%, after predicting in November last year that the economy would expand by 7,4%.

He said the growth will be anchored on a rebound in a string of key sectors including tourism, which he projected would expand by an ambitious 6,4%, despite being battered by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“GDP growth for the year 2021 is projected to remain strong at 7,8%, slightly above the 2021 National Budget growth target of 7,4%,” Ncube told Parliament last Thursday.

“The strong rebound of the economy is anchored on a better 2020/21 rainfall season, higher international mineral commodity prices, stable macroeconomic environment and managed COVID-19 pandemic.”

However, Biti blasted Ncube for practicing “voodoo economics lurching from one crisis to another hoping God and Mbuya Nehanda will keep it afloat”.

“Truth is regime is absolutely clueless and incompetent. Without an ideological anchor and a firm intellectual base (the) regime has practiced voodoo economics lurching from one crisis to another hoping God or Mbuya Nehanda will keep it afloat. Sadly you can rig an election but not the economy,” the outspoken politician said.

In recent months, the government has been propping up the image of the late First Chimurenga iconic fighter, Mbuya Nehanda by installing her statue in Harare’s central business district, and last month it printed a new $50 note with features of her images.

However, Biti said the country’s economy was being held hostage through corruption and state capture.

“More than that corruption and state capture are holding hostage (the) economy. Billions are being lost through vulnerabilities and self-induced policy distortions such as (Statutory Instrument) SI 127of 2021. Given these huge challenges, the MTR was thus a vacuous cowardly act of surrender. A massive dereliction of duty,”

Last May, the government passed SI 127 of 2021 as an amendment to the country’s financial regulations.

Key provisions of the temporary measures prohibit businesses from selling goods and services or quoting at an exchange rate above the ruling auction market rate, issuing buyers with a Zimbabwe dollar receipt for payment received in foreign currency, giving buyers a discount for paying in foreign currency and it sets out penalties for businesses and individuals that refuse to accept payment in the Zim dollar at the ruling auction market rate.