Zimbabwe rebases data, boosting size of economy by 40 pct

Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube
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HARARE, Oct 5 (Reuters) – Zimbabwe’s statistics agency has rebased key data, in an unexpected move that Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube said on Friday had increased the nominal size of its economy by more than 40 percent.

Annual gross domestic product (GDP) was $25.8 billion after adjusting the figures, from around $18 billion previously, Ncube told reporters in Harare.

“Our economy is bigger than we think,” said Ncube, adding that the new calculations took into account the large informal sector for the first time.

Most governments overhaul GDP calculations every few years to reflect changes in output and consumption, such as mobile phones and the Internet. Zimbabwe last adjusted its GDP figures in 2009, the same year it dropped its hyperinflation-hit currency in favour of the U.S. dollar.

Its troubled economy is still struggling to emerge from decades of mismanagement under Robert Mugabe, who was ousted in a bloodless coup in November.

Ncube, who was delivering an economic recovery plan, said Zimbabwe was ready to take the tough step of cutting its bloated civil service, which accounts for more than 90 percent of public spending and is a major concern for donors and investors.