Calls on IMF to acknowledge Zimbabwean economic reforms

Eddie Cross

RENOWNED economist and former MDC legislator Mr Eddie Cross has criticised international financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for not acknowledging reforms instituted so far by the New Dispensation.

Speaking in a recent interview with BizNews Radio of South Africa, Mr Cross derided the international community for being gullible in accepting propaganda from the opposition and civil society organisations (CSOs) that stand accused of faking abductions to soil Zimbabwe’s image.

Mr Cross said since the dawn of the Second Republic in 2017 Zimbabwe has been implementing wide and far-reaching reforms that will result in the country registering a more than 7 percent economic growth this year.

“We have got to pay credit where it is due and the new Government which came to power in 2017 has started to chart a different course to Robert Mugabe. Dramatic changes have taken place in the economic sphere. I am deeply critical of people like the IMF, they know what is going on, they get information from our systems on a regular basis, they know the consequences but they have given them (Government) absolutely no credit.

“They have feet on the ground here, they know exactly what’s going on. In the last few years we have had five alleged abductions and at least four of those were staged by CSOs to get the world’s attention. And they succeeded,” said Mr Cross.

Presently, three MDC-A activists, namely Joana Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova are facing charges of faking abductions with some former opposition officials revealing that these practices are widespread in the opposition and are arranged to coincide with major international events so as to tarnish the country’s image.

Using the alleged abduction of the trio, MDC Alliance vice president Mr Tendai Biti recently wrote a letter to the World Bank president, David Malpass claiming that the three were arrested, tortured and brutally sexually assaulted by the security forces.

Instead of swallowing the MDC-A propaganda, Mr Cross said the international institutions should look at the many positives being scored by the Second Republic.

“I tell you what, there are about 1 200 young white farmers back farming in Zimbabwe. These are the grandchildren of the farmers who were kicked out by Mugabe. On top of that we have a third generation of young industrialists who are coming with their companies and are making a huge impact here.

“For the past two years, very substantial progress has been made. We have seen major changes. Inflation has gone down, I think the economy has now started to respond.

“My view is 2021 is going to be a year of growth. There is no doubt that this team that took over in 2017 has committed itself to fundamental and substantial changes.

“You can see that in the way the economy has responded, not only in agriculture and mining, not only in the recovery of international commodities,”Mr Cross recently told a South African television station.

Added to that, Mr Cross said there is relative price stability and also local manufacturers are packing the country’s shops, an indication that local industry is rising to the challenge.

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic and its detrimental effects on international travel and tourism, successes in the agriculture and mining sector are to offset the negatives, he said.

The respected economist dismissed suggestions by some prophets of doom that the country’s economy won’t grow because of power cuts when the reality on the ground is that power outages are now rare while the completion of Hwange Power Project will ensure that by January next year Zimbabwe will have an additional 600MW to the national grid.

“Exchange rates have been stable for the past nine months, I have lost faith in all the multilateral agencies. The IMF has not given us adequate recognition for the progress made, the World Bank analysis of the economy this year is totally wrong, real businessmen now feel the same,” said Mr Cross.

Some of the major milestones that the Second Republic has scored include the setting up of the US$3.5 billion fund for compensating white former commercial farmers for infrastructure developments on the farms. This initiative was meant to show commitment in restoring confidence of the international community in dealing with the emotive land issue.

Unlike the First Republic, the New Dispensation has also managed to deal with the twin evils of budget and current deficits. In the absence of supplementary budgets, the Government has managed to rein in inflation. In fact, the country is now recording surplus, which is now being channelled towards transport subsidies and handouts to the vulnerable in society.

All these are clear interventions by the Second Republic, which as alluded to by Mr Cross are being ignored by international financial institutions. – Herald