New Finance Minister aims at currency reforms

by Sunday News Online | Sunday, Sep 9, 2018 | 4232 views
Dr Mthuli Ncube

Dr Mthuli Ncube

Kuda Bwititi, Harare Bureau
Newly-APPOINTED Cabinet ministers, who will be sworn in tomorrow, believe President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s vision of creating a middle-income economy by 2030 is attainable, and tough decisions will have to be made to steer through the agenda.

President Mnangagwa on Friday appointed a leaner 20-person Cabinet, which he described as “diverse, dynamic, youthful and streamlined  . . . with the skills and experience required to achieve our goals”.

He said his Government would retain the 100-day/ rapid results approach to routinely set goals and evaluate progress.

Incoming Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube told our Harare Bureau from his Switzerland  base that he will prioritise currency reforms, which could entail removing bond notes in the short to medium-term.

President Mnangagwa’s Vision 2030, he said, resonated with targets he had been advising other African governments on. Prof Ncube said, “I am very clear that there have to be currency reforms and the (current) currency approach is not working.

“In doing so, there are three choices that I will explore and pursue with urgency: One, adopt the US dollar only and remove the bond notes from circulation through a demonetisation process and also liberalise exchange controls.

“Two, adopt the rand by negotiating to join the Rand Monetary Area, and this will close the gap in loss of competitiveness against our largest trading partner, South Africa.

“Three, adopt a new Zim dollar, and here one needs to be clear that it has to be backed by adequate foreign reserves and macroeconomic conditions for its stability. Foreign currency accounts will also be introduced. For sure, currency reforms will be implemented.”

Asked how soon the currency reforms would be enforced, Prof Ncube said, “I would like to implement this by year-end.” For Zimbabwe to achieve its set targets, he said, economic growth had to be “strong, sustained and inclusive”.

“I strongly believe in the President’s vision of seeing Zimbabwe become a middle-income country. This will be attained through economic growth that is strong, sustained and inclusive. I have pioneered strategies on how African countries, like Zimbabwe, can grow a sustainable middle class, get people out of poverty, and become middle-income countries.”

The former vice-president and chief economist of the African Development Bank said he would burn the midnight oil to attract international capital.

“I promise to do my best, I am a hard worker and I want to see Zimbabwe record strong and sustained growth. I also want to see creation of jobs and one of my major priorities would be to attract foreign investors and rebuild confidence. We do not only want to get foreign investment, but, also, domestic investment is extremely important.

“We will need to look at the several pillars that affect economic development such as government expenditure, attracting foreign direct investment and so on.”

He said he would help the financial services sector introduce new and innovative products. Prof Ncube said he was prepared for the pay cut that comes with leaving a lucrative international private sector posting for a Government job.

Another man who has left a plum private sector job for Government is Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando. Yesterday, he said he would strive to ensure the mining industry generates $12 billion in annual revenues within five years.

“My main agenda is to help the President achieve his goal for Zimbabwe to become a middle-income economy by 2030. Our target is to ensure that by 2023, the mining sector can generate annual revenue of $12 billion. We believe this is very achievable and we are on the right track in line with our goals for every sub-sector, such as our ambition to produce 100 tonnes of gold annually.”

New ICT and Courier Services Minister Kazembe Kazembe said he was up to the task demanded by Vision 2030.

“I am eager to repay the confidence President Mnangagwa has shown in me by doing my best to drive ICT forward. This sector has a massive role to play for the development of our country and I will do my best to ensure that it plays its part in the vision for Zimbabwe to become a middle-income economy by 2030,” he said.

Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, who retained his post, said he would foster a legal framework and environment to underpin President Mnangagwa’s vision.

“This is a very inspiring Cabinet which proves that our President is a man of his word because what he preached during the campaigning is what he has implemented. It is clear that this Cabinet will be prioritise economic development over anything else.

“On my part as a minister, I am going to do all I can to promote legislation that promotes economic growth and the ease of doing business. We are also going to do all we can to improve our human rights record so that we can repair our image in the international community.”

First time appointees to Cabinet rank in the executive line-up are Prof Ncube, Monica Mutsvangwa (Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services), Dr Sekasai Nzenza (Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare), Kirsty Coventry (Youth, Sports, Arts and Recreation), Dr Obadiah Moyo (Health and Child Care), Mangaliso Ndlovu (Industry and Commerce), Joel Biggie Matiza (Transport and Infrastructural Development) and Cain Mathema (Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage).

All nine Ministers of State for the Provinces announced last Friday are first-time appointees, and five of them are women.

Further, the two Ministers of State in the Vice-Presindents Offices, Evelyn Ndlovu (VP Constantino Chiwenga’s Office) and Davis Marapira (VP Kembo Mohadi’s Office), occupy that rank for the first time.

Thirteen of the 14 deputy ministers have never held that office, completing the sweeping changes President Mnangagwa has made to the highest levels of the executive in fulfilment of his pre-election promise to bring in new high-end talent, skill and experience.

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  • Regime_Change

    Who are these Ziyambi Ziyambi labo Kazembe Kazembe. I hope ayisibo otsotsi

  • The Observer

    It is the greatest dream for every Zimbabwean to see a sustainable development and improvement of our well-being, a pragmatic approach, would be the best answer. There you are cabinet ministers…prove yourselves, no excuses, the society is in economic abyss, the former ministers remain the richest busturds, the majority but poor have no space to breathe. We are anxiously waiting for the fulfillment of promises while continuing with the agony of painful episodes and hallucinations.

    • Jonso

      BUT what they are likely to do is to leave Zimbabwean reality situation, and start copying systems in other countries whose battlefield is different from ours. Thats why Gono was a great failure also as a governor.

      List of Finance Ministers of Zimbabwe, i Might have left some i am not sure.

      Enos Nkala (1980–1983)
      Bernard Chidzero (1983–1995)
      Ariston Chambati (1995-1995)
      Emmerson Mnangagwa (1995–1996) acting.
      Herbert Murerwa (1996–2000)
      Simba Makoni (2000–2002)
      Herbert Murerwa (August 2002 to February 2004)
      Christopher Kuruneri (February 2004-April 26, 2004)
      Tendai Biti 2009 – 2013
      Patrick Chinamasa 2014 to yesterday.

      From the above list, you can see which minister whose systems worked. according to my own analysis, Bernard Chidzero was the best followed by Tendai Biti. The President should consider this guy, Tendai Biti. I would be glad if he can be in the finance ministry.

  • Jonso

    BUT do not be quick to remove the bond note without a clear tangible solution. All smes will collapse. We no longer need to experience that pain we experienced before. Removing the bond note in the short to medium term is a very noble idea, not just khonapho khonapho. Something should be there to replace it immediately as it finds its way out of circulation. I visited another home, somebody came with water to wash my hands ready for supper. I thot everything was in order, the food came 1 hour later. Even if i was not hungry, the whole system put me off. You might also need to consider any possibilities of strengthening it if they are there as something which is already in the system. As for the rand, i sincerely doubt if we need it. May be.

  • spiralx

    A distinct improvement on smashing up all the commercial farming, stealing all the money from the banks, and shafting mining and industry with pseudo ‘indigenisation’ laws. Now add a decent STEM-oriented education policy to underpin this probable future, and we may actually get back to where we were, 40 years ago, economically speaking.

  • zibulo

    what do people leave lucrative private jobs for state posts for ???? Leaving a good paying job , for a “government” offer that is not guaranteed?? Mthuli ,just remember how Nkosana Moyo “resigned” after frustration at not being able to implement and get support for his THEORIES. This is a War-Vet Govt , remember. they have uneconomic targets/policies they want to achieve in their lifetime before they die, and will KILL for that . All those macro-economic theroies you come up with , the others before you had them, Randarisation, US Dollarisation, etc , but the war vet govt had their aims and got rich on the advise of some economists who were crooked minded, telling them how to Bond the community and dollarise themselves. Now they have all the USDs in their homes in suitcases , they will just change it in RSA at China/Nigeria shops and open businesse in RSA. RSA is b enefitrting a lot from monies from African despots. They pretend to help african refugees yet benefit a lot . Sanctions have been renewed , so i wonder if Mthuli wil get assistance from his former employers to fund Zimbabwe (bad debtor) . Policies are set at ZANU House , the ruling party has that mandate , so all Mthuli will have to do is tailor his theories with ZANU policies . Will new minister of radio/tv/comms allow free discussions on politics and economics. as long as the Stop List exists at Home Affairs and ZBC agains’t certain citizens not to be on AIR on given zim passports , why expect good ? Even this paper is damn evidence of UNFAIRNESS / Stop List. Opinions are not published

  • Mumanyikawakaroka

    Sure, our terrains might bedifferent from where these guys are flying from. Whatever a person of position might have, nobody should be given a blank cheque to run/ruin the country like Gideon Gono because at the end of the day it’s us povho who will be left to suffer when they have flown back to their safe nests. Policies should be implemented after consultation with Parliament because these are elected people. For instance, joining the Rand Monetary Area at this point is risky since nobody knows how the Land Question is going to impart the South African economy and the Rand itself.
    This business of printing new money, by whatever name, should stop. Keep the bond notes but just monitor the distribution system from the reserve bank, there is enough money for all of us. A walk through the streets of Byo will show you that. Even if you were to introduce gold/diamond as the Zimbabwean currency, without monitoring it’s distribution from the top, it will still be disaster. And why not reintroduce the demonitised notes/coins of the past? The country invested a lot in those monies (not Bearer Cheques of course) and should not just be left to rot.