Just like all politicians the world over, the Zimbabwean government has a penchant for emphasising positives and glossing over failures and all negative data. This is especially true when it comes to the economy. Finance and RBZ officials often take a break for their whining about sanctions and saboteurs to sing praises to their efforts and often cite various statistics to show that their are excelling at their jobs.
Recently state media quoted several finance ministry officials including the Finance Minister himself saying the economy was doing better. To give credence to these claims the officials cited the fact that the economy was expected to grow by as much 7.8% this year instead of the 7.4% which had been forecast last year. The article goes on to claim that the black market had peaked at around $170 ZWL per 1 USD and was retreating. They then go on to cite the fact that they are holding US$1.7 billion in the country’s current account.
Glossing over the truth
This cheerful position recedes like winter mist in the face of the rising sun when examined closely. First, the economic growth figures shown are the government’s own estimations. There is no easy way to prove or disprove them. In any case, economic growth means nothing when it’s not equitably distributed and only a few people benefit.
Looking at the rate claims they do not appear to be true. As of this morning, we are observing rates as high as 180 ZWL and some businesses including pharmacies are still using rates of 200 ZWL Formal businesses also seem to be using this rate when setting their ZWL prices. Like everyone else, we do hope that the rate falls too but that’s just not the case.
What makes it worse is that most people earn their salaries in ZWL. The rate going up means that their disposable income is in fact shrinking. That is hardly a measure of economic boom. As ZIMSTAT shows we have more people living in poverty this year compared to 2017. The economy is doing worse ever since Finance Minister took up the job in 2018.
Then there is the issue of the current account balance. Again it’s based on a half-truth as one analyst has already pointed out:
The Net foreign Asset position of the country is negative US$3bn. But propaganda demands they shout about US$1.7bn in FCA.
Furthermore, Zim external debt is US$20bn. Zim is in a debt trap.Baba Nyenyedzi on Twitter
Again the economy is only doing better when you look narrowly at glowing metrics but when the evidence is considered in its totality. The claim that our economy is not one that you arrive at.