Zimbabwe's Mnangagwa reiterates commitment to correcting economic ills

Source: Xinhua| 2018-10-11 19:13:08|Editor: xuxin
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HARARE, Oct. 11 (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa said his government is committed to cutting down government expenditure and correct a host of other fiscal imbalances weighing down the economy.

He also reiterated that the multiple currency regime adopted by government in 2009 will remain in place for some time as government seeks to stabilize the wobbly economy, the state controlled Herald newspaper reported Thursday.

"Further to my address on the need to accelerate economic reforms that are necessary to stimulate the economy, I have found it necessary to restate government's strong commitment to reducing fiscal imbalances which are the root cause of the many challenges the economy faces," the president said Wednesday to the state media.

Some of the challenges include cash and foreign currency shortages that have resulted in the re-emergence of a thriving black market for foreign currency.

A recently announced two percent tax on electronic money transfers has also unnerved the economy, with most businesses hiking their prices while some have closed shop.

Shortages of fuel, medical drugs and other essentials have resurfaced in the economy, resulting in panic buying by consumers.

Mnangagwa said the challenges require the government to position the economy on a strong footing by implementing painful but necessary reforms that include cutting government expenditure to reduce the budget deficit and fast tracking reform of state owned enterprises.

He said the government will institute currency reforms once the implementation of the fiscal reforms has been completed.

Meanwhile, finance minister Mthuli Ncube said the government had secured a loan facility from Afreximbank to guarantee the 1:1 convertibility value of Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) balances into the United States dollar.

The decision comes in the wake of widespread fears of possible loss of value for RTGS or electronic balances in banks given the spiraling parallel market exchange rates which have triggered inflation.

Ncube, who is in Bali, Indonesia for the IMF/World Bank meetings, said government was committed to preserving the value of RTGS deposits on the current exchange rate of 1 to 1 in order to protect people's savings.

He also announced that during a meeting in Bali, the IMF and the World Bank supported Zimbabwe's plan to clear 2.2 billion U.S. dollars in arrears to international creditors.

"It is also important to note that all the cooperating partners and creditors present, uniformly expressed their (support) for Zimbabwe and its arrears clearance road map and that the meeting has been the best so far on Zimbabwe's arrears clearance process." the minister said.