Nqobile Tshili Business Correspondent
Zimbabweans should discard the consumptive appetite for luxurious imports and embrace domestic production so as to increase export earnings and limit the pressure on foreign currency requirements, an economic expert has said.
Speaking during a Public Policy Research Institute of Zimbabwe’s policy dialogue in Bulawayo, which was centred on significance of the Government’s Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP), National University of Science and Technology (Nust) economics lecturer, Dr Nqobizitha Dube, said the austerity measures being implemented by Government were progressive and should be embraced.
He commended the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Professor Mthuli Ncube, for steering the implementation of tough but necessary measures to stabilise the economy.
In its TSP blue-print, which will run from 2018 to December 2020, Government has committed to reducing fiscal deficit by cutting public expenditure, reforming the state owned enterprise sector, widening the tax base and reforming the monetary policy framework among others.
“The stabilisation programme is brilliant. It’s going to be painful but the pain must affect everyone. We want to know who is responsible for the big ball balloon of RTGS (estimated at $9 billion),” said Dr Dube.
“What is it that we should do that what (Prof) Mthuli is saying? Who created the balloon and what should we do to ensure that these leakages are dealt with? I think the transition plan is very good. It’s not going to be easy and it should not be easy for everyone.”
He commended Treasury for the separation of Nostro Foreign Currency Accounts and RTGS Foreign Currency Accounts, which is aimed at ring fencing forex earnings and cushioning the productive sector. However, Dr Dube said top among the country’s problems was the citizens’ consumptive culture, which appears to override effort towards engaging in productivity. He said the problem of externalisation of hard-cash was everyone’s weakness and not that of corporates, businesses and politicians alone. As a result, Dr Dube said the country’s economy can never grow when everyone wants to import products with most Zimbabweans wanting luxurious things that they are not producing.
“Even if you were to put $500 million into the economy today by the end of the month it will be in Dubai, most of it will be China because we would have taken to those countries to get all those (luxurious) things. The culture of exporting is not there, that culture of producing is not there. People should move from the consumptive culture to the productive culture,” he said.
Dr Dube said it was disheartening that some Zimbabweans tend to shun entrepreneurship as they do want to be accountable for their jobs preferring to be just employees. He said Zimbabweans need to wake up and realise that no one would come and rebuild the country for them.
“We need to move away from the culture of political polarisation. Looking at every situation from a political perspective and realise that economies are built through production. We have to create employment. This country was developed by other people who left now it’s our turn. We have to start producing and we produce enough so that we can employ our children. Without that we are going to continue having this economic problem,” he said.
Dr Dube also said it was time Zimbabweans start appreciating their country saying it was saddening that most of the country’s citizens will speak ill of the country whenever they go abroad.