Zimbabwe central bank under fire

RBZ Governor John Mangudya

JOHANNESBURG – The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) wants the country’s central bank governor John Mangudya replaced for failing to address monetary and liquidity woes that have long queues at shops and filling stations.

The Zimbabwean workers union organisation has also criticised President Robert Mugabe’s government – which has issued a 7percent savings bond – for the manner it has handled the worsening economic crisis.

“The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) hereby invites investors; individuals, companies, pension and provident funds, insurance companies, life mutuals, financial institutions and other interested institutions in Zimbabwe, to subscribe for the RBZ 7percent Savings Bond. Applications must be for a minimum of $100 (R1328.75),” the central bank said.

Peter Mutasa, the president of the ZCTU, said the union was displeased over the “reluctance of the government to decisively deal with the current economic meltdown” at a time when the country is already witnessing “shortages of basic foodstuffs, drugs, electricity and clean water” among others.

“Such a trend has an adverse effect of eroding and devaluing workers’ salaries and savings. “People are not even accessing their salaries and the worst scenario is that pensioners are sleeping outside banks.”

As a result of this, the ZCTU is now demanding that “the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya (be replaced) with a competitive non-partisan individual who can bring sanity to the monetary” system. Other demands tabled by the Zimbabwean workers union include a revision of the social contract, which stipulates that the government engage stakeholders such as labour and business on key policy issues as well as a call for the installation of a “transitional authority that can boost confidence” in the economy.

The ZCTU would “continue in actions that increase pressure” on the government. In the meantime the trade union, the biggest in Zimbabwe, is “consulting other trade unions and industry federations on the nature of actions to be taken against the government.

The government has downplayed the shortages in the economy, with President Robert Mugabe saying on Monday that it will take “a day or two” to fix the shortages of food stuffs and fuel. Mugabe returned to Zimbabwe from the UN general assembly annual summit.

“How can we have shortages of cooking oil and massive price hikes, all this happening while I was away? This is not an issue you should worry yourselves over. We will deal with it in just two days,” Mugabe said as he addressed a crowd of his ruling Zanu-PF party supporters gathered to welcome him.

He blamed the current economic crisis in Zimbabwe on “saboteurs, who want to cause panic against the government”. The government has also threatened to “deal a telling blow” to social media users spreading pictures about the fuel and foodstuff shortages. – IOL