Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Blame game doesn’t work

Finance minister Mthuli Ncube should be ashamed of himself for the unprecedented events that culminated in the suspension of senior Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) officials.

Professor Mthuli Ncube
Professor Mthuli Ncube

This was an uncalled for action done to cover up for the ministers’ careless and inconsistent pronouncements, which were the source of panic and current economic malaise.

As Norton legislator Temba Mliswa noted recently, it is the minister who created the current confusion, which has shaken the economy.

It has also created doubt on the ability of technocrats in President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Cabinet to fully appreciate our problems and how they emerged.

If Ncube understood this, he would not have talked about removing bond notes by December 2018 without considering the potential implications of his statement.

He added fuel to the fire in his address at Chatham House by indicating that the economy was self-dollarising and he was not going to stand in the way.

When such statements are made to economic agents who previously lost their savings, the next logical thing is to shift from bond notes and Real Time Gross Settlement system balances to greenbacks and assets to avoid being caught unaware again.

No matter what the minister said afterwards, the market was already aware of his “actual position” regarding fiscal policy.

Seeing the chaos created by his statements, blame had to be pushed somewhere.

With the tacit approval of some higher authorities, Acie Lumumba was let loose, resulting in the suspension of RBZ officials, without following basic tenets of justice and other internal processes.

By portraying the RBZ as the instigator of the country’s economic problems, it negatively impacted on the credibility of the central bank.

And yet we all know that the challenges manifesting as monetary have always emanated from the fiscal side of the equation.

Ncube should simply own up to his misguided and inconsistent utterances and the poor implementation of the new tax regime instead of destroying the character and dignity of his subordinates.

However, if the RBZ officials have cases to answer, this must be pursued through the right channels, taking into account the doctrine that says everyone is innocent until proven guilty.

The current focus on individuals will not help the situation that requires Ncube to reign in on excessive public spending and achieving fiscal sustainability.

Even if he is to bring a new RBZ governor from mars, he or she will still realise that a governor is just a junior officer in government with neither the authority nor legal powers to instil fiscal discipline. DailyNews