By Robert Tapfumaneyi
A top Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), official was booed by congregants at a Zimbabwe Council of Churches event in Harare, Tuesday after claiming the country’s economy is in a better place than it was in 2008.
RBZ deputy director economic affairs and Research Nesbon Mupunga said the Zimbabwe’s economy is improving adding the greatest challenges are lack of “public confidence and speculative activities.”
“Yes we have challenges in the economy but the economy is also doing very well.
“Prices are now beyond the reach of many people, which is a challenge, most people can no longer afford basic goods. But we are also confident that those challenges are being solved and 2019 will not be as bad as what most people are thinking,” said Mupunga.
“We are also happy that goods are still available in shops unlike 2007/8 where we had shortages of basic commodities, goods are still available but the issue is about demand and about affordability.”
At the height of the hyperinflationary era in 2008, most supermarket shelves in Zimbabwe were empty with a largely worthless currency that was later forced out of circulation.
Government early this year effectively turned a surrogate currency the Bond Note into currency christening it the RTGS Dollar. Mupunga said the uptake of the new currency in the informal sector has been disappointing.
“We are happy that the RTGS$ is working smoothly as a settlement account.
“But on the informal sector is resisting it. However, going forward as things improve the use of RTGS dollar is going to be embraced by the majority and by almost everyone in the economy,” he said.
Mupunga appealed to congregants and the church in general to pray for the country so it can get rid of “pessimism and restore lost hope in citizens.”
“The first challenge we are facing is negativity, Zimbabweans now have a challenge that we are negative on almost everything.
“You know they are people who even wish that things should even be worse than what they are,” said the RBZ top official.
“So we now call upon the church, to help by prayers so that we have hope on the economy as well because most people are just negative on everything. Even when we introduced the RTGS$ they are other people who are saying, no this thing must not work, it’s just negative.”
Mupunga added: “But this is the only country that we have. So we must have hope, we must have trust, and we must have confidence in what we do as a country.”
He said the fact that the International Monetary Fund has given its green-light to Zimbabwe’s austerity measures was indication that the country has taken the right path towards a stable economy.