Zimbabwe Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube says Movement for Democratic Change-Alliance vice-president Tendai Biti, who was finance minister during the inclusive government from 2009 to 2013, is completely lost.
Biti has criticised the President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government and Mthuli Ncube on several occasions for running down the country.
“The Zimbabwean economy is in an unprecedented tailspin and is suffering from massive headwinds across all sectors, whereby in 2019 the economy shrunk by a staggering 12.5%. What it essentially means is that we are back to depression economics,” Biti said last month.
“This is in sharp contrast to what the government claims when they say that the economy is on the mend, that it will soon reap benefits for the people, which will subsequently lead to a middle-income economy by 2030.”
Biti dismissed government claims that sanctions were slowing down the country’s recovery saying “the factors are primarily man made; the factors are primarily as a result of incompetence and cluelessness by the government”.
Ncube said Biti was completely lost.
“He is completely misinformed. He is out of touch. Well, he is not on the job is he? And that’s the difference,” Ncube told ZiFM.
“Let us just check the numbers. Right now in the banking sector there is US$1.1 billion, hard US dollars in the entire banking sector. During the government of national unity when he was minister, you know how much we had, US$40 million.”
Ncube said when you remove the local currency, you de-industrialise, the private sector cannot compete.
He had reversed that. He had been having a current account surplus for two years in a row. Civil servants were paid on time. Local goods were back on the shelves.
“Do you know the last time we had U$1.1 billion in the banking sector? It was in 1996. You know who was Minister of Finance in 1996, President ED Mnangagwa. I am Finance Minister now. It’s a good combination, I presume,” Ncube said.
Mnangagwa was acting Finance Minister for only six months from November 1995 to April 1996, following the death of Ariston Chambati, and was replaced by Herbert Murerwa who held the post until July 2000.