Just looking at the number of cross border shoppers, you don’t need a lecture to understand why there are liquidity challenges in Zimbabwe. A lot of our cash is used outside our economy. We need to closely look at the reasons why people see South Africa as a shopping paradise, irrespective of the long distances they travel and the hassles they meet at Beitbridge Border Post. People travel all the way from Harare to South Africa to buy eggs, mountains of jiggies (corn snacks) and all sorts of basic things you would expect to be bought from the nearest grocer’s shop.
As a country, we don’t seem to understand the value of the US dollar. As a result we are pricing ourselves out of the market. Strangely, we rush to put lame excuses on sanctions. How can our economy grow, when millions of dollars are spent everyday outside the country on things which should be produced and consumed locally? Making speeches and shouting at others will never make ours a great nation. Clever lies and rhetoric should not be at the centre of winning people’s hearts and minds at the expense of embracing innovations to stimulate economic growth. Bank accounts for most employees are only credited with salary deposits from January to December simply because there is little, if not nothing, to bank. There are so many people in the informal sector but their cash is kept outside the banking system. It is mind-boggling to hear politicians making populist utterances about the failure by banks to advance loans so as to promote indigenisation and SMEs without looking at the risks involved.
My considered opinion is that as a country we should avoid sensationalising economic issues for political expediency. I shudder at the whispers of having our own local currency in circulation along with a multi-currency system. Those with short memories must never tell lies because they are causing unnecessary anxiety. Who can go and open a bank account only to be told tomorrow that their hard earned US dollars are now so much Ivhu/Nehanda/Lima? God have mercy!
At his inauguration ceremony, the President said years of economic decline had turned Bulawayo into a scrapyard. Since he has been in power from the time we got our independence in 1980, I hope he is the right man to tell us what caused the rot. Honestly speaking, the socioeconomic rot in this country did not start with the imposition of “sanctions”. In 1997 war veterans pressed for the payment of gratuities because they were failing to make ends meet, and thereafter the Zimdollar tumbled and the whole economy went ballistic.
It is no secret that Ian Douglas Smith gave us a beautiful country in 1980 but through misrule we have destroyed it. Instead of holding our leaders accountable for their mistakes and quixotic schemes, we are charmed into believing that sanctions and the regime change agenda are at the heart of our problems as a nation. Since President Mugabe is back in the office, I would be grateful to see him stimulating the growth of our economy.
Concerted effort is needed to attract direct foreign investment as a matter of urgency to steamroller economic revival. We need good friends to bring cash into the country through meaningful investments. Our Look East policy has destroyed the clothing industry. Every corner of the country today has become a dumping ground for cheap products from the East.
I would be disappointed if Gushungo’s rule continues to leave a legacy of bitterness and misery. Social deprivation has become our daily meal. It pains me so much to see Zimbabweans scavenging in every part of the world to scratch a living. Self-rule without good life serves no purpose. As an unemployed postgraduate, I would be the first person to give the president a pat on the back if job creation becomes a reality in the next five years. – Enock Kwinika, BeitbridgePost published in: Letters to the Editor