I have over 40 years of Business and Finance experience, in the Accountancy, Retail and Resources Industries, and have developed a deep caring and empathy for Zimbabwe and its people, in the 5 years that I have been visiting.
I and have been in Zimbabwe for up to a total of 6 months each year in three to six week periods, 4-6 times pa.
I have travelled all over the Country and have met hundreds of wonderful and resilient Zimbabweans during this time.
I have a simple question for the RBZ/Govt on the Proposed introduction of the â€œBond Notes aka, New Zimbabwe Dollarâ€ which no one seems to want or accept, and as a consequence, it is further fanning the cash notes crisis, and creating ongoing hoarding of USD$ cash notes by everyone in Zimbabwe.
The Question for the RBZ and Government is?
â€œIf the purpose of introducing these new Bond Notes is to ease the Liquidity Crisis, and as these Bond Notes are supposed to be backed on a 1:1 basis by USD$ Funds, then why bring in these Bond Notes at all, when for the same money, the RBZ can bring in fresh USD$ Notes, which everyone will accept?â€
From a number of articles that I have read over the last few months, it appears the original Afrexim Bank facility of USD$200M (if it ever actually existed), has been fully used over the last 6 months to bring in actual USD$ cash notes into Zimbabwe, and as a consequence, there is no more of this Facility available, and the RBZ is unable to provide the 1:1 USD$ backing demanded by the Bond Note printers in Germany, and thus the reason for the ongoing delay in introduction.
This in turn will force the RBZ to print these within Zimbabwe.
Possibly, these Bond Notes will eventually be printed by Fidelity Printers, with ZERO USD$ backing, just as they did the Zimbabwe$ in 2008/9, which will render such Notes/Currency, worthless once again!
Regrettably, it also appears that the RBZ/Government now owes the Zimbabwe Banks in excess of USD$2 Billion in borrowings that the RBZ has forced on the Banks, and who are also complicit in this massive fraud on current Bank depositors (the bankâ€™s customers). They have now spent this money, which has all been generated via Export proceeds into RBZ controlled Nostro and RTGS accounts. This real money, that the Bank’s used to own and control, has now been replaced with IOUâ€™s called Treasury Bills, which the RBZ and Government have no ability or capacity to repay, unless they issue these infamous Bond Notes Currency as repayment.
This will then â€œForceâ€ the Banks to exchange their Depositors Funds, which are currently in USD$, to Bond Note currency, and one wonders why Zimbabweans are hoarding their valuable USD$ notes, and they should be concerned, as they may lose their money all over again.
This is the real reason that the RBZ is unable to promptly process foreign payments for imported goods, and why all Banks in Zimbabwe are now either Bankrupt or insolvent, as the majority of their former assets ( cash and other liquid assets to cover Depositors funds), have now been converted to worthless Govt Treasury Bills/IOU’s.
The majority of the USD$ that all Zimbabweans think they have in their Bank accounts, is no longer there, with such funds having been conveniently mis-appropriated by the RBZ/Govt, to pay for their own expenses and shortfalls, hence the real reason for the future introduction of Bond Notes!
THE SIMPLE PLAN
How can Zimbabwe rejuvenate itself, create greater export inflows, and create the proper Empowerment for the Zimbabwe people, that they so desperately seek.
This is just a simple plan, and yes I am WHITE, but really, what does the colour of our skin have to do with anything?
â€œA 6-month Plan to a Better Future Life for all Zimbabweansâ€
1Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Exclude the color of your skin as a reason for ANYTHING. We are all part of humanity and must have absolute compassion and understanding for all races and religions, but everyone must abide by the local laws of proper justice, and everyone must have compassion and empathy for those less fortunate than ourselves. Racial attitudes and divisions have no place in todayâ€™s world.
2Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Abide by the Constitution of Zimbabwe at all times, and ensure that there is an immediate separation of powers between the Judiciary, the Government and the Church. This is not the case today, and the intertwining of these crucial areas, is a Country destroyer.
3Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Immediately repeal the Indigenisation and Empowerment Act, as there is no Empowerment here, just ongoing theft and corruption via this Legislation. The real empowerment for Zimbabweans is to have a job, receive regular and uninterrupted cash flow from employment, contribute to Government revenue with taxes, assist their families to have a roof over their heads, food on the table and educate and bring up their children to become future employees, business owners, entrepreneurs and leaders in both Community and Government.
Handing out shareholdings in Companies that are struggling, or successful Companies built by individual and collective hard work and Capital, and then rely on future dividend payments for cash flow, is not Empowering, it is constricting development of the individual, the Company and the Country.
4Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Encourage high level Foreign Investment to facilitate agricultural, mining and industrial growth with tax incentives, asset protection and the ability to repatriate initially 100% of any investment with a reasonable rate of return, with no restrictions, then dividend and profits repatriation, subject to the payment of local taxes. Zimbabwe is blessed with these assets, many of which are grossly under-utilized and under-developed, for lack of available Capital.
5Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Maintain the current USD$ based currency, until the Country has sufficient reserves to support its own currency again, and introduce strict rules and regulations for the RBZ, that will ensure that the hyper Inflation era cannot happen again.
6Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Educate your sons and daughters to renounce violence, and on the evil of corruption, lies and poor ethics and moral judgements, so that they can become the true and strong leaders of the future that you know they can be.
This can only be achieved with hard work and with a total renunciation of the â€œEntitlement Cultureâ€ that has developed, and encourage all small business owners, whether they be Major corporates, small miners, vendors, retailers or service providers, with easier regulations.
7Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The repeal of the above Act and the provision of investment incentives for the Agriculture and Mining Sectors initially, will lead to a resurgence in Foreign Investment virtually overnight, and the improvement in local manufacturing capacity, as generally every $1 spent on these crucial areas, results in up to an additional $5-$8 spent on services and supplies required by those industries. A resurgence in Agriculture and Mining and Manufacturing will increase jobs and critical Government revenues virtually overnight. $1Billion of foreign investment, will create a further $5 Billion to $8 Billion of additional stimulus to the economy. This has happened in my country, Australia.
8Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Advertise globally and locally, from within Zimbabwe and any Country and any race of people that have the willingness and expertise, to secure the best 10-20 Government bureaucrats and invite them to come to Zimbabwe for a two-year period to completely review and refine all current Government Legislation and policy settings in Zimbabwe, and to create the required Fiscal and Policy environment that will attract, not discourage, investors from around the globe.
This must include full electronic data and information provision within all areas of Government and business interaction, with global best practice web sites and financial reporting, and asset protection technology software and systems. These are available NOW; you just simply have to pick the best country systems available today. I am certain every developed Country would provide these with set up assistance and commissioning, gladly free of charge!
9Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Set up a proper and powerful Anti-Corruption Group, with external assistance from global experts, which would have wide ranging powers to seize corruptly obtained assets and monies from any individual, without the hindrance of political interference, to stamp out this scourge, which has brought the Country to its knees, both morally, ethically and has destroyed the â€œsoulâ€ of Zimbabwe and its people.
10Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Undertake an election for all seats in Parliament within the next 90-120 days, with such election being conducted with agreed International monitors with full and proper disclosure of Electoral rolls, so that a fair and proper result is achieved.
Regrettably, the ruling ZANU PF Party and the current Government will NEVER LOSE AN ELECTION, under the current un-reformed Electoral Guidelines, so more of the same, FOREVER.
11Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Last but not least, pray every day to whatever God you believe in, that the current Ruling elite can develop the courage and intellectual and moral fortitude to do the above, however there must be no recriminations for the financial sins of the past, however there must be accountability for such in the future, and accountability and prosecution for the human rights sins of that past, which I suppose is the main reason why the current Ruling Elite MUST cling to power. Forgiveness however, is a very powerful and persuasive tool.
12Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Encourage at all costs, locally based and managed NGOâ€™s to continue their great work in food, water, agriculture, education etc., and give them the ability to do all this amazing work directly and in consultation with each other, and without major Government interference.
13 Â Â Â Â Â Â The Finance Ministerâ€™s mid-term review must be implemented and supported, with a significant reduction in the Public Service work force, and the majority of good and honest Public Servants whom are retrenched over time, will always find good jobs with probably better and more reliable pay in the revitalized Private Sector.
Those not so good, and not so honest, must be the first to go!
14Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Maintain personal Individual Sanctions, and with the Full Implementation of the above Simple Plan, any other existing sanctions will be quickly removed, as will a large amount of Debt Forgiveness be offered, which level of accumulated debt and interest is currently further strangling the Economy. Additionally, new finance and grant facilities for Upgrading Country and Government Infrastructure will also become readily available.
15Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Provide incentives and encouragement for the large Diaspora to return to their country and assist with the Plan.
If the above are implemented in the next 180 days, I believe that Foreign investment, GDP Growth, Export Revenues, Tax Revenues, Jobs and Quality of Life will grow exponentially over the next 24 months with a possible End of Plan GDP in Zimbabwe exceeding $15 Billion annually and growing!
Currently less than $5 Billion and shrinking.
Only direct capital investment in agriculture, resources, manufacturing and education and training can drive an economy and create jobs, not hand outs and corruption.
Begging for hand-outs and loans from the IMF, World Bank etc., without any ability to repay, is a recipe for Bankruptcy, and NO COUNTRY should ever go there, although Zimbabwe is very close to that precipice.
It is also most embarrassing that both the Finance Minister and the Reserve Bank Governor continue with this â€œbegging bowlâ€ approach across the Globe, and incur further extensive costs of doing so, without any chance of success. They are on a hiding to nowhere and it must stop, however the luxury travel and accommodations at the tax payers expense, is a very hard thing to stop, particularly if there is no accountability at the end of the day.
Just another wasted and expensive overseas trip, which has regrettably become the exclusive preserve of the Ruling Elite, from top to bottom.
There are many very smart and clever Zimbabweans both in Zimbabwe and in the Diaspora that could easily implement this Plan, it just requires the Political and Human will to do so, and I am prepared to do my part even as a non Zimbabwean, if asked.
Zimbabweans, the future is in your hands, so grab it with all you have and all you know, and your beautiful country will be an even better paradise for all.
MY HOPES AND PRAYERS ARE WITH YOU ALL.
A VERY CONCERNED BUSINESSMAN AND REGULAR VISITOR TO ZIMBABWEPost published in: Letters to the Editor