African Bank approves Zimbabwe economic restucturing plan

Emmerson Mnangagwa

HARARE – Through the ongoing economic reforms, Zimbabwe is on the right path. ln addition, the country has the potential to wiggle out of the current storms, Africa Development Bank (AfDB) country manager Mr Damoni Kitabire has said.

According to the State media, the AfDB predicts that 2020 will be a better year for Zimbabwe’s economy.

ln 2019, the country experienced a myriad of challenges, including a ravaging drought, Cyclone Idai and hyperinflation.

Zimbabwe re-introduced a new currency last year, leading to economic shocks that are expected to recede in 2020. Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube also announced the end of austerity in 2019, paving a new trajectory for the economy, which will be anchored on productivity and job creation under the Transitional Stabilisation Plan.

In an interview with the State media on the sidelines of the signing ceremony of the US$10,5 million Tax and Accountability Enhancement (TAEP) grant provided to Government agencies, Mr Kitabire said through its reforms, Zimbabwe could pull through its current challenges.

“Zimbabwe has the potential to recover from its present challenges, given the reform efforts that the Government is currently pursuing,” he said.

Asked what he made of President Mnangagwa’s reform agenda, Mr Kitabire said: “Zimbabwe is on the right track. The Government is doing its best to tackle the deficit, which was the biggest problem. It is one big area.

“They are also carrying on with the Staff Monitored Programme with the IMF. Some results have been missed, but by and large, we are on the right track. There are many challenges, but we are trying to support the Government so that challenges like inflation, which the Government is trying to tackle, can be put on stream.”

The AfDB boss predicted better fortunes for Zimbabwe in 2020, saying some of the challenges experienced in 2019 had subsided.

He, however, observed that the country needs better fortunes in the agriculture sector.

“It is a very challenging environment. Zimbabwe may not grow as much as it wants, but I do not think it will be as bad as 2019.

Mr Kitabire said the market oriented policies being implemented by President Mnangagwa are the way to go.

“It is also important to have the right policies for growth. We need to continue to enhance our policies, that will be a good determinant for 2020,” he said.

“There is need to have a good micro-economic environment, one that is more predictable and market oriented. We also need to control the fiscal deficit so that inflation is contained. These are the basics for good economic performance.”

Mr Kitabire said as one of the measures to help Zimbabwe manage inflation levels, the bank had assisted the country with the US$10,5 million grant through the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, the Auditor-General’s Office and the Parliament of Zimbabwe. In his remarks at the TAEP signing ceremony, Prof Ncube said the AfDB’s support had come at the right time as Government is reforming its tax and financial administration to grow the economy.

“The expected outcome is to enhance tax compliancy and efficiency, as well as strengthening public accountability, which will be achieved through installation and functionality of the new Tax and Revenue Management System as well as the improved capacity of the oversight function of Parliament,” he said.

The minister applauded AfDB for the support it has rendered Government in the various sectors of the economy.