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'Zimbabwe economic decay could lead to civil strife'

by Staff reporter
10 Dec 2016 at 17:09hrs | Views

FORMER Finance minister and opposition PDP leader, Tendai Biti has warned the country is headed for a civil war or possibly a military coup due to the imploding economy, which is saddled with a massive $12 billion domestic and sovereign debt.

Presenting an alternative PDP State of the Economy Address (Sena) document yesterday, Biti said Zimbabwe would be forced into a transition by a number of factors, chief among them the rapidly collapsing economy.

"We have a leadership crisis, a generational crisis and transitional crisis. We have to have a challenge of transition. If your President is 92 years old and he can't walk normal steps, so our biggest fear is that unless these multiple crises are addressed in a holistic, sustainable manner, Zimbabwe is heading towards an implosion, it's heading towards an Armageddon," he said.

Biti said his party was proposing a National Transitional Authority (NTA) to deal with the failing economy, which has seen the government "stealing" people's money and breeding chaos in the social services sector.

"Unless we buy peace through an NTA, we are definitely heading for an implosion in the form of a civil war or a military coup and you and I know that they are some who can't wait to carry out legal and extra-legal things on the Constitution of Zimbabwe," he said.

Biti said according to the National Budget presented by Chinamasa on Thursday, the domestic debt would climb to $3,7 billion by year end, adding to the $9 billion sovereign debt.

The opposition leader said he feared that the 2017 budget was a blueprint for Zanu-PF's preparations for the 2018 elections considering that nearly two-thirds of the budget was allocated to the security sector. The 2017 budget, according to Biti, already had a $1,18 billion deficit which the former Finance minister said could only be funded through raiding depositors, accounts and monetised through printing of bond notes.

"We are shocked by the projections of a $4 billion budget when revenue is dwindling, it is dangerous and terrible economics for the government to budget recurrent expenditure on a deficit. The government will monetise this budget deficit through the printing of bond notes," he said.

Biti further accused Chinamasa of cooking up figures for political expediency in an attempt to hoodwink international institutions into funding President Robert Mugabe's government by predicting economic growth when the country was in its fourth year of recession.

"Zimbabwe is in the fourth year of a structural economic recession, which the authorities do not understand and are incapable of offering sustainable solutions to stem the same," he said.

"The Minister of Finance yesterday (Thursday) spoke of the underperformance of the economy, we prefer to call it a crisis of under-accumulation. During the GNU period from 2009 to 2012, the Zimbabwean economy was on an upward trajectory in respect of which the average growth rate was 7% per annum and that growth rate was achieved as a result of a tight fiscal policy anchored on a cash budget."

PDP proposed 10 solutions, which it said were critical in reviving the economy and keeping peace in Zimbabwe.

Chief among them was financial discipline, calling on Chinamasa to cut the budget to $3,1bn, trimming allocations to the military, Office of the President and police.

Biti also said Zimbabwe should join the Rand Monetary Union, but this could only be done after the establishment of the NTA.

Source - newsday

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