RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya said on Wednesday he will not experiment with the economy during his tenure, but will find ways to push for implementation of radical changes that will drive economic growth.
Mangudya, who was appointed central bank boss last year, told editors from media houses operating in the country that Zimbabwe’s economy was “an awakening giant”.
The Zimbabwean economy is projected to grow by between 1% and 3,2% this year, accounting to the government and World Bank projections although other analysts have put it at 1%.
Some of the editors, however, said the growth had not translated to any tangible benefits for the ordinary person.
But Mangudya said there was a “crisis of discipline” and lack of sacrifice in the country, virtues which are key ingredients in driving the economy on a sustainable growth trajectory.
“I do not want to experiment with people’s lives,” the governor said, keen to emphasise an approach that differs with that adopted by his predecessor Gideon Gono whose 10-year term was defined by unorthodox interventions in the economy.
“I would rather experiment in a laboratory than in an economy.”
He said lack of discipline as evidenced by high levels of corruption, profiteering, smuggling of goods and minerals, lack of transparency were some of the ills stifling economic transformation and making life hard for the ordinary man.
Zimbabwe is estimated to be losing billions through illicit dealings in major economic sectors and the government stands accused of failing to stamp out the corruption due to alleged involvement of senior officials.
Mangudya said mining, tourism and agriculture were the three sectors key to Zimbabwe’s economic growth going forward and the central bank will soon come up with measures to buttress efforts to boost their performances.
“Our growth areas are in mining-gold, coal, platinum and diamonds, tourism and horticulture,” he said.
“We want to mobilise resources to support these sectors.”
The central bank boss said he believed in Tourism minister Walter Mzembi’s vision of a $5 billion industry by the year 2020.
Currently, earnings from the industry are around $1 billion annually.
While foreign direct investment was critical in improving performance, it was not the panacea to the challenges bedevilling the economy, he said.
Mangudya said low productivity, lack of competitiveness and low business confidence were the major ills impacting on the country’s economic performance while calling for “recalibration” of the economy to solve major structural challenges.
Addressing the cost of doing business in the country would help improve its competitiveness, he said.
He said demands for salary increases in an economy which was not performing were unrealistic.
“If salaries are 80% of government expenditure, there is no room to increase the salaries,” he said.
“People in this country are paid for going to work and just being active but not for productivity.”
Mangudya reiterated that the country would in the foreseeable future continue to use the multi-currency system with no possible return of the local currency in sight.
— The Source