THIS AFTERNOON, all eyes and ears will be on Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa as he presents the much-awaited 2014 budget envisaged to indicate the direction the country will take in the New Year.
There is a general consensus that President Robert Mugabe’s new administration has no clue at all on how to solve the country’s socioeconomic woes in the next twelve months and even beyond.
The critics cite the prevailing economic tailspin, which has triggered a crisis in the banking sector which in turn has seen some indigenous banks failing to fulfil their obligations — handing out cash to their impoverished clients upon request.
To all intents and purposes, the outcome of the so-called People’s Conference has generally failed to inspire confidence in the economy, further compounding woes for Chinamasa and his party.
Instead, turmoil and mayhem are intensifying daily in the banking sector hardly a week after the Zanu PF talk-shop and the party’s much-trumpeted economic blue print — Zim Asset — hardly appears a firm rescue package for the country’s socioeconomic ills.
In reality, the prevailing condition in the country points to a situation reminiscent of 2008 prior to the consummation of the ill-fated coalition government in which the country appear to be operating on voodoo economics.
On the eve of Chinamasa’s delivery, Tendai Biti, the MDC-T secretary-general and the party’s shadow Finance minister on Tuesday told the Press that the July 31 election plunged Zimbabwe into a crisis of legitimacy, leadership, governance and a depressing economic crisis.
“It is five months since the July 31 sham election and it is evident Zimbabwe is at crossroads confronted with a crisis in the economy, crisis of leadership, crisis of governance and crisis of legitimacy. It is far too easy to rig an election, but the economy is a totally different ball game.
What is happening on the ground is that it (Zanu PF) is helpless and cannot run an economy. Sadly, we are on auto cruise to 2008,” Biti said.
While Biti has a bitter bone to chew with his successor and political opponent, it is a fact that there are strong fears that with its failure to turn around the country’s economy, Zanu PF will bring back the Zimbabwe dollar into circulation.
As Chinamasa steps on the podium, he should be aware the country needs clarity on these very serious issues.
The onus is on him to use the occasion to prove doubting Thomases wrong and set the record straight on the Zimbabwe dollar, how much would be made available to resuscitate collapsed industries, the public health, transport systems, etc.
But most importantly, Chinamasa should show us the money.