Zimbabwe’s economy is expected to slow down this year owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, a Cabinet Minister said on Wednesday.
Addressing a post Cabinet media briefing, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the pandemic had hugely affected the economy.
“In tandem with other global economies, Zimbabwe’s economy has been negatively impacted by the Covid-19 outbreak and growth is expected to slow down. The drought experienced in the 2018-19 and the current season coupled with diminished access to external sources of foreign currency further compounded Zimbabwe’s economic situation,” she said.
Minister Mutsvangwa said Government had put a number of measures in place to rescue the economy.
“There are, however, a number of measures, both fiscal and monetary, that are being implemented to address the challenges that the country is going through in the absence of financial support from international financial institutions,” she said.
Zimbabwe has been under Western sanctions for two decades, penalties that have cost its economy over US$100 billion over the period.
These were imposed in an attempt to force the Government to abandon its land reforms under which it acquired vast tracks of under-utilised farmland from white farmers to resettle landless blacks.
Minister Mutsvangwa said the current price hikes, and exchange rate fluctuations were speculative, and did not reflect the economic fundamentals in the country.
The country has lately experienced a wave of price increases, particularly of basic commodities, and sharp devaluation of the local currency.
“It is also stressed that the current price and foreign exchange rate fluctuations are clearly divorced from real economic fundamentals and can be attributed to speculative tendencies,” Minister Mutsvangwa said.
“The Minister of Finance and Economic Development and the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe will announce measures which should see the situation stabilising in due course,” she added.
Minister Mutsvangwa said Cabinet also considered and approved the payment of a 30 percent incentive to those farmers who deliver maize early to the Grain Marketing Board in order to maximise the delivery of the staple food.
“This is over and above the Maize producer price which was recently announced by Government,” she said.
The producer price of maize has been pegged at $12 329 per tonne. — New Ziana.