FINANCE minister Patrick Chinamasa yesterday described the current cash shortages as a mirage, saying the government was satisfied with the prevailing liquidity position obtaining in the country.
By Tatenda Chitagu
Addressing guests during the unveiling of a low-density housing project in Masvingo, Chinamasa said cash shortages were on the fiscus, adding the government was working hard to address the movement of money through normal banking channels.
He said the sharp increase in the construction of high-rise buildings across the country was evidence that citizens had the cash that they require.
“I was surprised in Rusape, a small growth point, there is construction of double-storey buildings. There is no cash shortage. The shortage is on the fiscus and we are trying to tie-up the loopholes that see money getting into the pockets of individuals without passing through the formal channels,” he said.
Most Zimbabweans spend much of their time in bank queues struggling to access their cash amid complaints from business that this was having a negative impact on production.
Chinamasa also defended the issuing of Treasury Bills (TBs), arguing they do not fuel inflation.
“Many people rubbish TBs. If you borrow for consumption, you will have high inflation. But if you borrow for construction and infrastructure, we get development,” he said.
He said TBs were given to the Infrastucture Development Bank of Zimbabwe (IBDZ) for various projects which had benefited the nation’s development programme.
Meanwhile, Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere said the national housing backlog now stood at 1, 25 million units.
“The country is faced with a daunting backlog of 1, 25 million units. Based on the ZimAsset economic blueprint, my ministry is mandated to deliver 125 000 units and/or fully serviced stands by 2018. The feat cannot be achieved by government alone, but requires concerted efforts from us all.
“Let me take this opportunity to urge other financial institutions and private developers involved in human settlement development to take a leaf from IDBZ in trying to reduce the housing backlog,” he said.
Masvingo mayor Hubert Fidze said the provincial capital’s housing backlog stood at 10 000.