Economy: ‘Let’s call a spade a spade’

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THE phrase ‘the country’s economy’ is on everyone’s lips these days.
Wherever you go; streets, workplaces, agricultural fields, schools, bars and churches, among others, everyone is talking about the country’s economy and the importance of turning it around for the motherland to develop and prosper.
It should not surprise anyone that almost everyone in Zimbabwe is talking about the economy.
A country which is 20 years behind other countries from an economic development point of view inevitably makes every citizen want to catch up with the rest of the world.
Below, we would like to discuss the best ways and means of catching up with other countries and hopefully surpass them. In our discussion, we would like to call a spade a spade and proffer solutions to solve the economic problems the country is facing.
First, let us, as Zimbabweans, look at ourselves in the mirror and see how we are doing as far as developing the country’s economy is concerned.
We, Zimbabweans, are totally wrong in the way we view the role Government should play as far as economic development of the country is concerned.
Some of our politicians have told us that the country’s economy can only be fixed and grown by the Government.
Yes, that is if Government really ‘wants’ and is ‘serious’ about fixing the ailing economy, it can magically do it overnight! That it can eliminate all debts, queues for money at banks, fix the infrastructure and get all the credit it wants, among others, at the proverbial drop of a hat.
But that is not it!
There should be no spectators.
Every Zimbabwean must play his/her part.
It is true the Government must play a prominent part and no one can say the present Government, led by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, has not played its part well.
From the onset, the President himself said his Government is going to prioritise economic development and discard cheap politicking.
He went further to say his Government would make the entire economic environment conducive for foreign direct investment.
The Government is making good policies on business development.
We can highlight some of the good aspects this Government has done in an effort to fix the economy.
l Legislation that has been hindering investment by outside companies and individuals has been repealed or amended to accommodate the wishes of investors. For example, the Indigenisation Act.
l Government has drastically reduced royalties on minerals from 10 to just 2,5 percent.
l Recently, fuel prices have been reduced.
As we reflect, President Mnangagwa was recently in Switzerland attending the 48th World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting.
This was the first time Zimbabwe attended this iconic economic forum to market brand Zimbabwe.
This is a conference where the top companies in the world exchange ideas, as well as look for business opportunities in countries such as Zimbabwe.
There is no doubt Zimbabwe is going to benefit immensely on the economic front by attending the WEF.
But the above is not to say Government is populated by angels who are doing wonders for the economic development of our country.
There are some people, especially some civil servants, who move with their hands in their pockets pretending that in their pockets are silver bullets which they are ready to use to solve all the country economic problems.
Yes, that it is only them who know all the answers and so everybody else must simply wait to be shown how to go about things.
Now, let us come to the Zimbabwe private sector.
The biggest problem with the Zimbabwe private sector is their tendency to not play by the rules.
Generally speaking, the Zimbabwe private sector has no shame in stealing from their customers.
For example, they find it very difficult, if not impossible, to reduce prices when the price of particular products, for one reason or another, go down.
If the prices go down today for instance, they will behave as if nothing has happened.
They will continue to charge the old price with straight faces.
The same can be said about inflation.
If the country’s inflation drops dramatically, business in Zimbabwe will ignore the big drop completely.
They will behave as if the story about inflation drop was meant to entertain newspaper readers only.
In developed economies, if inflation drops dramatically, private business will respond quickly by reducing prices.
Then there is the disjointed working of Zimbabwe businesses.
Yes, there are business associations in the country, but these are weak.
They are not able to set the agenda on the economy.
They are simply given the agenda.
Now, when they find what they don’t like on the agenda, they embark on a mourning exercise.
Zimbabwean businesses must be at the forefront of influencing policies that have a direct bearing on the development of the country’s economy.
The days of mourning and enjoying ‘victim status’ must come to an end.

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