Former Movement for Democratic Change policy advisor Eddie Cross has showered Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube with praise but said he was too conservative in his 2019 budget because, for example, he believes that the country’s gross domestic product is about $25 billion but he thinks it is closer to $55 billion.
Cross. who has been bashed by his colleagues for “licking” the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, is likely to receive more bashing as he condemned the refusal by MDC legislators to rise up when President Emmerson Mnangagwa walking into Parliament – which resulted in them being removed from the House- asking what they really wanted to achieve.
Writing in his personal blog, he said the carefully managed manoeuvre in the end made the legislators look like spoilers.
Cross said Mthuli Ncube also cut Tendai Biti, who was Finance Minister during the inclusive government and has blasted Ncube since he was appointed minister, down to size.
“The new minister is not a politician, he is an academic and has worked all his life in the financial sector and at various Universities. He is extremely bright and widely respected and anyone who takes him on is going to experience that,” Cross said.
“When Tendai Biti took him on in one of his early question times, he soon learned that he was a clever lawyer – but no match for Mthuli in the economic sphere.”
Cross said Ncube recognised that the bond note was not at par with the United States dollar and it was time the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe realised this because the greenback will flood the market once controls are lifted.
“I do not think the IMF or the World Bank have any idea of just how this economy works. I think our real economy is worth perhaps US$55 billion – not US$19 or the new values ascribed in the budget,” he said.
“I pointed out last year that Zimbabwean financial institutions handled US$120 billion in financial transactions. Ecocash handling, by itself, double the financial transaction of all commercial banks combined.
“When the Minister of Finance in 2009 jumped off the bridge and lifted all controls – who could have predicted the result – in weeks all shortages vanished and we were trading in hard currencies quite freely.
“We had no reserves – not a cent, all our banks and the Reserve Bank were bankrupt. In the succeeding 4 years the average growth in revenues, in real money, to the fiscus was 70 per cent per annum! Explain that. “
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