By Alois Vinga
BUSINESS leaders have poured scorn on Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube’s recent claims the Zimbabwean economy was on a path to recovery.
Ncube was speaking to international media on the sidelines of the 2020 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos this past week.
The Treasury boss was adamant the raft of measures put in place by the Zanu PF led administration positioned the troubled country to both economic stability and recovery.
Ncube also said the country’s inflation continued to go down through government efforts to stabilise the local currency and award descent wages to government workers.
But reacting to Ncube’s remarks, renowned business leader, Devine Ndhlukula said the minister’s optimism was misplaced as the most critical issues that have brought the economic decay have not been addressed.
“The efforts will only yield fruition if we first take charge of internal confidence issues dogging the economy,” she said.
“While figures presented by government indicate that month on month inflation is going down, the sad part is that we are not seeing the corresponding effect in our day to day business activities.”
Similarly, top economist, Godfrey Kanyenze described government’s Davos excursion as a mere “networking spree”.
He said the minister should instead invest more time and effort in confronting problems back home.
“It is pointless to keep embarking on journeys that yield little for the nation. As you are aware, this is not the first time Ncube has been to Davos and this alone means that we still need to address issues which the investors have been raising for a long time,” he said.
Kanyenze said the reduction in monthly inflation figures which Ncube was talking about did not reflect overall economic recovery which requires currency stability, Interbank Market efficiency and industrial productivity.
“The information being shared by the minister is rather technical and as you recall the economy was way better off when Ncube took over than what it is now.
“Currently, the social safety nets in the country are very weak, hence impoverishing many people,” he said.
Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers president Denford Mutashu described the Davos trip as an important international re-engagement measure but also emphasised the need for Zimbabwean authorities to put their house in order first before inviting visitors.
“Our re-engagement efforts must reflect on how prepared our ministries are in receiving investors owing to the bureaucratic culture, corruption and the overhaul of the doing business environment.”
Economist Prosper Chitambara said investors have been taking a wait-and-see attitude as Zimbabwe was not reforming fast enough.
“As a result, even organisers of the UK-Africa summit did not extend an invitation to Zimbabwe indicating that we still have more homework to do,” he said.