One of Zimbabwe’s well-known economists, Eddie Cross, was recently quoted saying that Zimbabweans need not mind the surging inflation we are seeing on an everyday basis because the “economic fundamentals” of Zimbabwe are sound. All recent economic woes in Zimbabwe such as the surge in bread prices and shortages of mealie-meal have been conveniently blamed on the war in Ukraine and not on government incompetence and constant meddling in the agriculture sector.

The President must not panic. The people must not panic, but we need to be cautious and support all government reactions to such pressures which are driven by global commodity markets.

The economic fundamentals are sound; our Zimbabwe dollar should be strong, but we are destroying our dollar. The Minister of Finance should trace the markets and institute proper mechanism to deal with these monopolies. These economic woes and attack on our currency will end in 24 hours.

What Eddie Cross said according to the ZBC

The darndest things

Zimbabwe’s government-affiliated economists have a habit of saying the darndest things that either sound hollow and untrue or insensitive. This time it sounds like the statement had both areas covered. How can Zimbabweans not panic when the cost of basic commodities has tripled over the past few weeks without a commensurate increase in salaries? Most people still earn RTGS dollars even though the government has insulated itself by, for example, pegging ZIMSEC fees against USD? If they look like they are panicking why should we not panic?

Then there is the constant nonsense about “economic fundamentals”. If the statement sounds vague and meaningless to you it is because it is vague and meaningless which is perhaps the point. It is the nonsense Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube likes to peddle to unsuspecting international audiences. The “economic fundamentals” in Zimbabwe are not sound. We wouldn’t have midnight bans on bank lending if they were. All that is happening is a result of either government-led incompetence or just plain sabotage by those in charge of policy.

Telling people not to panic when their very lives are at stake is no different from the famous words of the queen to her starving subjects: why don’t you eat cake?