Winston Mano speaks to Sky News on Zimbabwe’s economic reforms
CAMRI’s Winston Mano, Director of the Africa Media Centre, was last week interviewed by Sky News on the worsening economic situation in Zimbabwe. Following this year’s July 30 national elections the country has not achieved the much anticipated economic turnaround. Instead it has seen the return of long queues for fuel, endless cash shortages, shortage of basic commodities (https://www.dailynews.co.zw/articles/2018/10/19/shoppers-stampede-for-cooking-oil) as well as a meltdown of the value of its proxy currency, popularly known as the “bond” notes, which the government was to be at par with the American dollar. The Sunday interview with Sky News’s Kimberley Leonard started by noting the political and economic background to Zimbabwe’s problems most of which have continued after Robert Mugabe’s 37 years in power. The army’s killing of protesters on 1 August together with legal disputes about the elections (https://www.herald.co.zw/no-valid-application-before-the-court/) have made it difficult for the new government to win the backing of the international community for its political and economic reforms. Zimbabwe is also facing economic sanctions from the US and its allies, which limit investment. In the interview, held at Sky Studios in North West London, Mano indicated that Professor Muthuli Ncube, the new Zimbabwean Finance Minister, has put forward reforms that have the potential to transform the situation https://www.herald.co.zw/finance-minister-unveils-cost-cutting-measures/). For Mano the problems lie in how these plans are implemented, particularly if the Finance Ministry is not supported by others in government. The new measures to raise tax on monetary transactions will hit ordinary Zimbabwe using mobile money (https://www.dailynews.co.zw/articles/2018/10/23/chamisa-demands-2-percent-tax-refunds) but it has potential to raise much needed income for Zimbabwe which so far has few tax payers. Mano added that the new austerity measures need to be applied to the top elite if the reforms are to be successful. The political executive has to stem unnecessary expenditure, tackle corruption and “back the reforms proposed by the new Finance Minister” who brings to the job fresh knowledge and financial experience from Africa and beyond.