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Zimbabwe needs political solutions for economic problems

29 Apr 2019 at 13:10hrs | Views
Hawkins, an economics professor who founded the Graduate School of Management at the University of Zimbabwe, made the remarks at a recent breakfast meeting hosted by the Institute of Directors Zimbabwe (IoDZ) to unpack the latest Monetary Policy Statement delivered by Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor John Mangudya.

"Ultimately the solution to Zimbabwe's problems is political.  You can fiddle around with the economy as much as you like but you are not going to get a lasting solution without some form of political and social consensus," said Hawkins.

No matter how deep, or varied; no matter how sophisticated the options put forward for turning the country around, conversation around these issues inevitably ends by implicating an effete populace in the continuing downfall  of the economy. If only our people are alive to their "rights" and willing to fight for these, this country would be a much more livable place. Our people should sound alarms on any corrupt deals or transactions. By this token, the central task before the economy resembles that which is described as in terms of a need to conscientise, sensitise, and then mobilise the people to reach for greater heights.

Government had made so much of retailers selling commodities above the recommended retail price, and how this was some form of economic sabotage, it was unlikely any retailer was going to hand "evidence" of this "infraction" So if a person sets off a huge racket on their right" to a receipt, the will be allowed to buy more without restriction. This will be a silencing technique while corruption strive. We remain persuaded that if every single national would fight for his or her rights and refuse to pay high prices  the country would be the better for it. Economic problems are mostly caused by us.

We ask questions like how  is the retailer able to cover the costs - salaries, associated overheads, insurance, etc. - associated with keeping the business open? These, are the type of costs that each one of us must be prepared to bear if we mean genuinely to realign the country.

Did it matter to a Harare  baker, that when the government decreed that customers pay bread price for a reasonable price, he had directed would-be buyers  to go try their luck at government shops. He would have nothing short of his new price. The government had not contributed a dime putting his stock together, and he was justified charging whatever the market would take for it.

Evidently, this sense that ties the enforcement of our "rights" with correcting the many ills of the Country does not include "duties" that are due from us to each other, and to our respective communities!
And the market?!

No other word elicits as much mixed feelings as this does. Depending on whom you talk to, it is at once a "cure-all", and the bane of all our problems as a people. And yet, I know of few Zimbabweans alive today, who cannot point to a parent or grandparent who, at one time or the other, offered a product or service for sale in some market. We are, thus, at heart, a nation of corner-shop owners. And I know of no member of a trader's family who would have tolerated that they sell their goods for lesser than it cost to get it to the "market".

In this sense, our "conflicted" response as a people to the market as a solution to our economy's woes, is as fraudulent as my "rights" moral position was.

There is nothing wrong with the market. However, there is everything wrong with how government has intervened in those product/services markets that it is involved in. Invariably, government's intervention has ended up organising cartels against the people. These cartels may explain why the arguments about economic solutions collapse into calls for enforcement of "rights". But that is only because allocative processes across key sectors of the economy have been appropriated by money seeking cohorts.

The public sector is without doubt the most useful metaphor of our sad encounter with the markets. For, on one hand, it is failing not so much because market forces conspire against the people there, but because cartels growing like algae on the back of government's uninformed interventions in the space have exacerbated all of the sector's downsides.

Government's failure shows up in other ways, too. In the petroleum sector the government has failed to stamp authority. It has allowed people to serve jelly cans. There is no impromptu inspection to see if there is no fuel in the service stations. No service station owner was ever arrested for hoarding fuel and only selling to friends or those who demand payment in hard cash  It takes about 40 litres on most fuel pumps to fill a 25-litre container. Only because government's weights and measures office is not working any more. The argument, here, as it has always been, is to reinforce government's regulatory capacity, including through ensuring that all weights and measures are properly calibrated; while the price mechanism allocates resources, especially the scarce ones.

Otherwise, in order that the nation continue to pay for these inefficiencies, scarcities will be with us for a while yet. It would not matter a jot that we then describe the situation as a challenge to our "rights". We would simply be proposing political solutions to economic problems.

The government must not be reactionary it must take control of things.
Corruption has been allowed to take charge. This is not what should be done. People are really in trouble they need the government to be their protector. Alas government is talking loudly but acting slowly.

The political solutions becomes credible only when corrupt officials are arrested and prosecuted.
It is not a secret that top government officials are leading in money laundering foreign currency scandals bulling of investors. The name of the president is being abused.

Seeing the president one has to pay. Every person claims to be so close to the president and under the name of the president people destroy the good name of Zimbabwe.

One wonders why it takes so ling to attract investors in the country. People want a piece of every cake coming in the country.

Investments are categorised in ways which are knee shaking.  They are those called presidential investors. They are the ones who are told that the president is aware of your presents so I am the link between you and the president. In that patronising situation people are made to pay a lot of money. Presidential fee. There is another category called ministerial where an investor is informed that the minister is on in it. Nothing will happen without the minister being involved.

This nonsense should be stopped Zimbabwe deserves better than this.
While the president is trying his best to steer the country to a better tomorrow there those close to him splashing the good of the country into abyss.

We need to take a stand against corruption. The country is in a new dispensation.  This dispensation must not only be a dispensation but a serious departure from the past.
There is a general anger in the populace directed at the government.

Driving a government car attracts ridicule this is because there are glattons cartel leaders thugs in the government. They are now surrounding the president.

We have said thank you to those who stood with the president during cyclone Grace Mugabe. It is now enough. We now need to remove the parasites surrounding the president and embrace the vision of the president.
There are people within the party who are ready to move the country forward. If ever there was a need for a reshuffle it is now. There are plenty officials who are so comfortable with their positions. All they do is to lie to the president in order to protect their jobs. They have no clue on how to move forward.

A political solution to our economical problems is possible when we become politically patriotic. The president stands a risk of being a lone patriot while those around him being mercenaries.
We do not deserve any of this. We should take our positions as economical greats.

Zimbabwe is the only country we can call ours in the whole universe. We must work together for its success. It is high time we ask "what can I do for Zimbabwe.  Not What Zimbabwe can do for me"

 The opposition has no clue on how to change the economic woes. Besides talking and demanding to be partners in government they will add no value to Zimbabwe. Their mind is on power.  So  this talk of GNU is self serving. Lets work for the betterment of the country.

Source - Dr Masimba Mavaza
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