New Fi­nance Min­is­ter aims at cur­rency re­forms

Sunday News (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page -

NEWLY-AP­POINTED Cab­i­net min­is­ters, who will be sworn in to­mor­row, be­lieve Pres­i­dent Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa’s vi­sion of cre­at­ing a mid­dle-in­come econ­omy by 2030 is at­tain­able, and tough de­ci­sions will have to be made to steer through the agenda.

Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa on Fri­day ap­pointed a leaner 20-per­son Cab­i­net, which he de­scribed as “di­verse, dy­namic, youth­ful and stream­lined . . . with the skills and ex­pe­ri­ence re­quired to achieve our goals”.

He said his Govern­ment would re­tain the 100-day/ rapid re­sults ap­proach to rou­tinely set goals and eval­u­ate progress. In­com­ing Fi­nance and Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Pro­fes­sor Mthuli

Ncube told our Harare Bureau from his Switzer­land base that he will pri­ori­tise cur­rency re­forms, which could en­tail re­mov­ing bond notes in the short to medium-term.

Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa’s Vi­sion 2030, he said, res­onated with tar­gets he had been ad­vis­ing other African gov­ern­ments on. Prof Ncube said, “I am very clear that there have to be cur­rency re­forms and the (cur­rent) cur­rency ap­proach is not work­ing.

“In do­ing so, there are three choices that I will ex­plore and pur­sue with ur­gency: One, adopt the US dol­lar only and re­move the bond notes from cir­cu­la­tion through a de­mon­eti­sa­tion process and also lib­er­alise ex­change con­trols.

“Two, adopt the rand by ne­go­ti­at­ing to join the Rand Mon­e­tary Area, and this will close the gap in loss of com­pet­i­tive­ness against our largest trad­ing part­ner, South Africa.

“Three, adopt a new Zim dol­lar, and here one needs to be clear that it has to be backed by ad­e­quate for­eign re­serves and macroe­co­nomic con­di­tions for its sta­bil­ity. For­eign cur­rency ac­counts will also be in­tro­duced. For sure, cur­rency re­forms will be im­ple­mented.”

Asked how soon the cur­rency re­forms would be en­forced, Prof Ncube said, “I would like to im­ple­ment this by year-end.” For Zim­babwe to achieve its set tar­gets, he said, eco­nomic growth had to be “strong, sus­tained and in­clu­sive”.

“I strongly be­lieve in the Pres­i­dent’s vi­sion of see­ing Zim­babwe be­come a mid­dle-in­come coun­try. This will be at­tained through eco­nomic growth that is strong, sus­tained and in­clu­sive. I have pi­o­neered strate­gies on how African coun­tries, like Zim­babwe, can grow a sus­tain­able mid­dle class, get peo­ple out of poverty, and be­come mid­dle-in­come coun­tries.”

The for­mer vice-pres­i­dent and chief econ­o­mist of the African De­vel­op­ment Bank said he would burn the mid­night oil to at­tract in­ter­na­tional cap­i­tal.

“I prom­ise to do my best, I am a hard worker and I want to see Zim­babwe record strong and sus­tained growth. I also want to see cre­ation of jobs and one of my ma­jor pri­or­i­ties would be to at­tract for­eign in­vestors and re­build con­fi­dence. We do not only want to get for­eign in­vest­ment, but, also, do­mes­tic in­vest­ment is ex­tremely im­por­tant.

“We will need to look at the sev­eral pil­lars that af­fect eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment such as govern­ment ex­pen­di­ture, at­tract­ing for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment and so on.”

He said he would help the fi­nan­cial ser­vices sec­tor in­tro­duce new and in­no­va­tive prod­ucts. Prof Ncube said he was pre­pared for the pay cut that comes with leav­ing a lu­cra­tive in­ter­na­tional pri­vate sec­tor post­ing for a Govern­ment job.

An­other man who has left a plum pri­vate sec­tor job for Govern­ment is Mines and Min­ing De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Win­ston Chi­tando. Yes­ter­day, he said he would strive to en­sure the

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Dr Mthuli Ncube

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