Zimbabwe govt lists 3 top priorities for 2020

Mthuli Ncube, Zimbabwe's finance minister, speaks during an interview in Harare, Zimbabwe, on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019. On the eve of major protests, which were called by the main opposition party over plunging living standards, Ncube said the country would establish a Monetary Policy Committee within a month that will cut interest rates, begin selling bonds with maturities of as long as 30 years, and proceed with a plan to privatize everything from state telecommunications companies to timber plantations. Photographer: Cynthia R Matonhodze/Bloomberg

GOVERNMENT says its top three priorities for the year 2020 are food, power and currency stability that are all intended to address the economic challenges the country is facing.

This follows an undoubtedly hard-hitting 2019, that saw economy decelerating, stemming from a myriad of turbulences caused mainly by El Nino induced drought leading to an unfortunate 2018/19 summer cropping season and poor dam water levels that resulted in a spike in hydroelectricity outages.

The same year saw the South Eastern parts of the country being ravaged by fierce Cyclone Idai.

All happened to a Government that was fighting to restore sound macro-economic fundamentals, predominantly the reintroduction of the local currency (Zimbabwean dollar).

Government has since moved a notch higher, setting priorities for the 2020 economic year, focusing on the emergency areas.

In an interview yesterday, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube said; “The objective of the Government is that citizens have access to food, basic commodities including access to electricity.

“Government will arrange these in the first quarter of 2020 setting aside resources to import commodities which include food, maize, wheat and soya-beans in order to meet the national demand.

“We have a plan, we have resources and we feel comfortable that we will be able to meet the demands for Zimbabweans between now and June and beyond that,” said Prof Ncube.

In an effort to revisit the issue of power shortages, the 2020 National Budget set aside $8,5 billion to capacitate Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) in order to improve its services.

“The money is supporting the company directly as well as making sure that there are resources to import power from the neighbouring countries, mainly South Africa and Mozambique,” Prof Ncube said.

He indicated that Government is accelerating the issuance of licences to power producers in solar and mini-hydro power production.

He also highlighted that Government is working on stabilising the local currency.

“The exchange rate for the last four months has been stable and the Government is working to keep it that way, by doing so we are keeping the Government expenditure under control, we as a Government don’t become a source of currency instability.

“Because if we keep the currency stable then we will make sure that the pricing process among the retailers is delinked from volatility and we have less of USD pricing,” said Prof Ncube. – Herald