Zimbabwe Has Seen the Worst of Covid-19 Pandemic, Finance Minister says




Professor Mthuli Ncube

HARARE – (Bloomberg) –Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube believes the effects of the coronavirus pandemic are “behind us” and the nation has better economic prospects following the roll-out of a vaccination program.

The country has administered about 832,000 vaccine shots against the virus, one of the fastest paces in Africa. It has recorded 38,595 infections and 1,583 deaths, according to the Ministry of Health.

“The worst is behind us now and there can only be better prospects for our country,” Ncube said in an annual budget review. “The roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccination program is expected to go a long way in ensuring better economic activity in 2021.”

Report Highlights:

  • The country recorded a Z$20 billion ($236 million) budget surplus in 2020, while the public wage bill was 41% of revenue, he said.
  • Public debt was Z$14.8 billion, or 78% of gross domestic product, by the end of 2020.
  • Last year, the government disbursed Z$21.8 billion in a stimulus package to support the economy due to the pandemic.
  • Treasury raised projected economic growth to 7.5% this year from the initial 7.4% forecast made in December.
  • Zimbabwe earned $3.2 billion from mineral exports last year, compared with $2.8 billion a year earlier, after output of platinum group metals increased to $1.7 billion, followed by gold at $994.7 million.
  • Gross official reserves are now $325.2 million, the highest they have been since $412.3 million in 2018.