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The Streets are the new Finance Minister

By Wisdom Mumera

Saddled by a strong US dollar and a decayed local surrogate partner the government has increasingly found itself a powerfully built but useless referee as the wily streets are sprinting with the game.

Both market and labour have shown that they are paying attention to the direction of what the streets are saying and not the official pronouncements from Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube or President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Whilst the government has stuck to its guns that the US and the Bond are 1:1, creating price distortions and increases the street has silently decreed otherwise placing the rate at US$1 to about $3, 60 Bond.

Delta has responded to the street. Surface Wilmar producers of Pure Drop has done the same. Zuva Petroleum. Schools. Teachers, nurses and doctors have all responded to the street rates and gone for strikes calling for dollarized salaries.

Using the 1:1 rate government recently offered civil servants a salary increment of 10%. That percentage increase translates to about $50 Bond for the lowest paid which is actually $16 in street value. They walked out.

Street decrees against government stubbornness have resulted in shortages of fuel, basic foodstuffs and medicines. In the instances that they are found the pricing is exorbitant.

According to experts, the current pace of price hikes has not been experienced since the hyperinflationary periods of 2008.

The ironic part is that government has been frenetic, locating itself everywhere in the economic tangle trying to maintain relevance and control via Statutory Instruments, amendments and Decrees.

The opposite has however happened. It has continuously tripped itself leading to calls for its stepping back.

“Government’s morning hand is just too much. There is no economy which has grown without room for enterprise. The government hand is just everywhere,

“The tombstones because of price controls in this country, you can write a book. Secondly negotiations, you don’t bring politicians, you don’t need to bring an RBZ Governor into a court to determine the salaries of teachers,” Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) Chief Executive Officer Christopher Mugaga said on Friday during a breakfast meeting.

In the instances that Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube has sought to play the financial father figure comforting the masses, he has sounded dislocated from reality, spewing podium rhetoric.

“We are confident of growth indicators and it is just a matter of time before all can be restored to glory days,” he said recently when responding to news that inflation had risen to 31%.

ED, always playing mystique, thriving on silence and conjecture, has said very little. Results show a stumped politician with little idea on the way to take.

Middle class by 2030 does not sound and seem like the deductive ambition of the current Zimbabwe situation but some falsely peddled political statement with no substance according to the prevailing street-run economy.

Whereas the government is caught in its own web of lies and propaganda the street has everything laid out neat and prim.

Vice President Constantino Chiwenga aptly personified the government position with his fidgety and sweaty press conference recently.

 

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