Zimbabwe Finance Minister urged Zimbabweans to be humble in their expenditure

The government has developed a comprehensive plan to revive the economy,
which will involve painful measures like a bitter pill administered to
a patient, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli
Ncube has said.He made the remarks in Brussels, Belgium, yesterday while
addressing the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) Group.

In his address, Minister Ncube outlined part of the measures
which the government is taking to revive the economy.
These include cutting government expenditure, privatising
parastatals, liberalising the economy and reducing red tape. He said
urgent and bold action was needed.

“Zimbabwe is back on the map. Just as we open up our economy and
democratic space, so too are we opening our arms to the world,” said
Prof Ncube.

“The dark times are behind us, and the future is bright and
positive; a future of cooperation and dialogue. A future whereby
Zimbabwe is an active and responsible member of the global community,”
he said.
“The Zimbabwean economy faces a raft of serious challenges,
including a high budget deficit and significant debt, and currency
challenges. These are challenges we cannot face alone,” stated
Minister Ncube.
He however, said it was impossible to run away from the challenges.
“And while these challenges are significant, with major structural
reform, they are not insurmountable. What is required is urgent and
bold action, and tough decisions. We cannot run away from the
challenge – the longer we wait to address it, the harder it will be,”
he said.
“Government has developed a comprehensive plan to revive our
economy and put us on the path to steady economic growth. The only way
to a stronger economy is to restructure, rebuild and reform,” said
Prof Ncube.
“This plan involves some painful measures to get our national
budget under control. These measures will be felt by all of us, but
are unavoidable if we want to get our economy back on track,” he
He said pain would be felt as the measures were implemented but it
was unavoidable.
“These measures are those of a doctor performing a lifesaving
operation. They cause pain, but the pain is the only thing that will
lead to a recovery. As Margret Thatcher once said, ‘Yes, the medicine
is harsh, but the patient requires it in order to live’,” said
Minister Ncube.
He urged Zimbabweans to be humble in their expenditure.
“We must all be humble and austere, and government is leading by
example. We are continuing to make big cuts to perks and unnecessary
expenditure, so that government lives within its means,” he said.
“Alongside this, we are making structural reforms to liberalise our
economy, privatise inefficient parastatals, reduce red tape and
regulation and attract investment,” said Minister Ncube.
He urged the nation not to panic.
“It is vital that we do not panic. The money in Zimbabwean’s bank
accounts is and continues to be of value, and government is
guaranteeing the availability of all essential commodities, including
fuel,” he said.
“Amidst these reforms, our growth projections remains strong, a
similar rate to some of the fastest growing economies in Africa. This
is an indication of where we are going if we keep on this path.
“We must be realistic and recognise the scale of the challenge.
According to the IMF, it takes a few years for an economy such as ours
to overcome our constraints. There are no silver bullets or quick
fixes. Reform, hard work and patience are the only solution,” said
Minister Ncube.
He said the road to an upper middle income economy was long, bumpy
but guaranteed a secure future.
“We are undertaking a shared journey towards a better and more
secure future. The road is long, winding and at times bumpy. But there
is no other way. This is the road to an upper middle-income economy,
ala Vision 2030, and if we travel it together, with patience and
purpose, we will realise our vision,” he said.
“The new Zimbabwe cannot go it alone. We must open our arms to the
international community, international investors, and international
financial organizations,” said Minister Ncube.

The ECR Group is a centre right political wind in the European
Parliament established in 2009 under the founding principles of
Prague. This is the first time Zimbabwe has been invited to the
group’s meetings.
President Mnangagwa’s government has prioritised re-engagement with
all nations as it seeks to revamp an economy that has suffered
isolation for decades.

Source: The Herald website 10 Jan 19