Deputy Finance Minister Terrence Mukupe told the Senate on Thursday that Zimbabwe’s cash crisis dates back to 2013 because Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa inherited a ministry that had only $217 in its coffers.
The situation was compounded by Zimbabweans’ appetite for imports.
He had been asked by Senator Damian Mumvuri what the Government was doing to reduce cash shortages, kill the black market in the country and whose money was at Roadport and Eastgate.
Mukupe said When Chinamasa took over there was no money in treasury and former Finance Minister Tendai Biti had admitted this when he said the country only had $217.
“The nice thing is figures do not lie. In January 2013, the former Minister of Finance, Tendai Biti announced that Government had only $217 in its coffers when he left office,” Mukupe told the Senate.
“He left office with a situation where Government had a domestic debt that was running close to $5 billion. What Hon. Chinamasa inherited was basically a bankrupt Ministry of Finance where only what was available was debt.
“That resulted in him having to pay for that debt using Treasury Bills. That is why you find that we ended up having a lot of Treasury Bills that came into the system. The next thing is that these people who were being paid by Treasury Bills ended up knocking on the doors of the banks wanting to withdraw their money.
“All of a sudden, we have a situation that we have so much pressure and a lot of people queuing in the banks. This domestic debt situation, the expansionary credit programme that came in as a result of the ‘eat what you kill’ from the Tendai Biti era – that is the effects that we are feeling now.”
Mukupe said the situation was worsened by the appetite for imported goods.
“If we had a situation where we loved our own goods more than we loved (imported) goods, I think the problem that we have in terms of shortages of foreign currency would be less,” he said.
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