By Anna Chibamu
LEGISLATORS across the political divide joined hands in strongly condemning recent economic containment measures introduced by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, saying they were piece-meal and counterproductive.
Their statements came after Finance and economic development minister Mthuli Ncube presented his state of the economy address in the National Assembly in which he backed his principal’s actions.
Former finance minister and Harare East legislator Tendai Biti slammed Ncube for “approaching parliament with dirty hands”.
“Honourable minister, the statement you have just presented lacks parliament’s legal backing. The ban imposed on the extension of lending by banks must be reversed. It is unconstitutional,” Biti said.
“There is also interference with the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) which lost US$3 billion in three days. The ZSE has been crippled, the banking sector has been crippled too. These developments signal the government’s introduction of yet another exchange rate which is not welcome,” he said.
“Honestly, how can a country survive this kind of pricing system? Float the Zimbabwe dollar. It will stabilise,” he added.
Glenview North Legislator Fani Munengami weighed in saying: “Minister, why are you going round and round. Respond to what we asked for. People have one issue. They want food on the table, rentals and be able to pay their children’s fees.”
The sharp tongued independent Norton legislator Temba Mliswa said the statement by government last week was a panic-driven response to the economic challenges in the country.
“There is need of retraction. Some of the policies by the government have a negative impact on the people. All confidence is gone,” said Mliswa.
Zanu PF Chief whip Pupurai Togarepi called on government to deal with the source of the United States dollar and Zimbabwean dollar flooding the parallel market.
“Where is the money coming from? The market has been exposed to money laundering. Let us deal with our currency and find ways to deal with dual currency. We have no control over the USD and as such, let us do away with the foreign currency,” Togarepi said.
MDC-T MP Tapiwa Mashakada requested Ncube to allow for a free float currency.
“Private sector access to funding has been banned. We have an exchange rate volatility. Government needs to adopt a free float to make sure that there is a free market determination. Currency must fulfil stock of value credibility role,” Mashakada said.