Despite the economic turmoil that rocked the country last week with fuel going up 150 percent and inflation at 42.1 percent, Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube is confident inflation will be down to single digit level by year end.
Ncube, who is in Switzerland attending the World Economic Forum which President Emmerson Mnangagwa was forced to abandon to attend to problems at home, said the government will ensure fiscal discipline to rein in inflation which is accelerating at the fastest pace in a decade.
He told Bloomberg news agency today that both the rate of price growth and the budget shortfall as a percentage of gross domestic product are expected to fall below 10 percent this year.
Below are Ncube’s remarks on how the government is tackling the country’s economic crisis:
- “We are looking everywhere – east, west, wherever we think we can get them.”
- “I’m hoping to approach three private-sector credit providers who are very keen to work with us especially in providing fuel, in giving us a couple of credit lines up to the tune of $500 million.”
- “On the fiscal front we continue to make sure there is fiscal discipline, cutting back on government expenditure, making sure that it is not the fiscus that is adding to inflationary pressures.”
- “In December we are expecting inflation that is single-digit indeed.”
- “If you look at what has caused the crisis in first place, it has been budget deficits in the past and we are dealing with that, making sure that it moves from double digits to single digits by the end of this year.”
- The government is “making sure that we cut back on government waste, deal with the current account deficit.’’
- “A lot needs to be done.”
- “First of all fiscal discipline, making sure we bring the budget deficit into single digits, runaway government expenditure is curtailed. Also making sure there is compliance on the revenue-collection front.”
- “Also we need to build the micro-institutions for full monetary policy conduct in the sense of introducing a monetary policy committee, making sure we put in place a framework for inflation targeting but also growth targeting.”
- “Externally making sure we can begin to address our arrears in terms of what we owe to other nations, the Bretton institutions included.”
- “The first step is to clear what we owe to the World Bank and the African Development Bank, who are the preferred creditors in a way. We are working on that.”
- “We clear those institutions first and then we move onto the second phase, which is negotiation with the Paris Club.”
- “To the world we want to show that we are making progress on the macro-economic front and walk the talk – we are doing that. It’s painful, there are protests, but we have to stay the course.”