Govt was not pushed to bring new currency: Prof Ncube

Dorcas Rumano

Finance and Economic Development Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube said Government was not forced into bringing a new currency as reforms had already started earlier in the year. 

Speaking during a business breakfast meeting hosted by Dailynews today, Minister Ncube said, “We were not pushed to bring the currency. Reforms started in February. With currency reforms you prepare minds, you do not negotiate, we did that but as usual, people did not listen. President Emmerson Mnangagwa said it three times at public gatherings; I said it on Business TV. You cannot hold a referendum on that,” he said.

Professor Ncube said he was happy to declare victory in his fight for austerity in Government, through battling high expenditure. He said his message of austerity had been targeted more internally as Government had the problem of overspending.

Responding to a question from one of the attendees on whether the measures his Ministry was implementing were the same with those taken in 2008, Professor Ncube said, “It’s not. Unlike 2008, we are not running an overdraft with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) we do not have a deficit.”

He said unlike in 2008, Government’s fiscal position is no longer a risk.

Minister Ncube said he was meeting with the Apex Council tomorrow to discuss on cushioning of civil servants. He said Government would not be dipping its hands in RBZ as he reassured its independence.

Speaking during the same occasion, the RBZ Governor, Dr John Mangudya said, “With exports of US$250m and US$100m in remittance per month, against imports of US$330m, Zimbabwe shouldn’t be facing foreign currency shortages.”

Governor Mangudya said the problem had been the inefficiency of the foreign market.

RBZ Governor said US$9m was traded on the interbank market last week, and noted that as RBZ, they were not controlling the exchange rate.

Asked if the timing of Statutory Instrument 142 of 2019 was right? Dr Mangudya said it was right, as the economy was fast re-dollarising, and this would hurt competitiveness.

He said, “The economy was rushing towards re-dollarisation. When you see a push, you have to push back.”

Dr Mangudya said as a nation, there is need to produce. =He added that about 45 % of Zimbabwe milk is imported, but Zimbabwe used to export milk.

SI 142/19 was introduced by Government on 24 June 2019 and it banned the use of foreign currency for local transactions. Since its introduction, the prices of commodities and foreign currency exchange rate have been tumbling.