Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa has admitted that the country’s economy is navigating in troubled waters, making it difficult to attain the 2016 National Budget targets.
By Fidelity Mhlanga
Addressing the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce congress in Victoria Falls yesterday, Mnangagwa said the El Nino-induced drought and the resultant costs of importing grain, as well as low commodity prices were taking a toll on the economy.
“Rising international oil prices have further increased the import bill and the firming United States dollar, against all regional currencies, has had the effect of increasing the cost of production and hurting our export competitiveness across the board,” he said.
The government is failing to pay civil servants’ salaries on time due to poor revenue inflows, amid indications that this year’s projected growth rate of 2,7% will not be met.
Mnangagwa said the government was assessing business operations to identify areas needing urgent interventions to improve the investment climate through empowering local entrepreneurs, tapping into Zimbabweans living in the Diaspora and foreigners to invest in the country.
He said government’s efforts to clear bilateral and multilateral arrears had been successful after the International Monetary Fund, African Development Bank and World Bank agreed to Zimbabwe’s repayment plan.
“I am convinced that the anticipated reduction in our debt obligations will send the right signals to potential investors and improve our economic rating, thereby attracting new foreign direct investment into the economy,” Mnangagwa said.
As has become the norm at all his presentations, Mnangagwa threatened to descend heavily on officials implicated in corruption.
“As I have consistently emphasised at various fora, it is high time we walk the talk against corruption and ensure that those found on the wrong side of the law are ruthlessly punished irrespective of their position or standing in society,” he said.
“I appeal to those about to commit this crime to desist from this alluring but dangerous practice.”