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James Madzimure: Government should crack the ‘salted’ whip on the financial sector

By Apostle Dr James Madzimure

Where are we going as a nation? Living in Zimbabwe nowadays is like being sentenced to go to hell. Why can’t we have one noble person seriously pushing for sanity in the financial sector? How can I have cash being sold to me at 30% to access it? 

Dr James Madzimure
Dr James Madzimure

This is total madness and it must stop forthwith. Which other country do people go free selling forex and their own local currency in the streets? The fiscal and monetary authorities should look through the radar and get their policies right. People are suffering and no one seems to care.

Who is fuelling this indiscipline in the financial sector? Why is it difficult to control? Are they small fish we see in the streets or there are big fishes involved? The few rich people are getting richer while the majority of the people are busy crying. This madness must come to an end.

Despite the introduction of the Zimbabwean currency, prices are skyrocketing and goods are rated against the banned and scarce United States Dollar. I thought we will be walking into the bank to access our funds easily. Now it is actually a nightmare to get money from the banks.

We request the highest offices in the land to crack the whip if they have one. We are the only country where travelling becomes a nightmare because you will become a beggar in a foreign land without access to forex. We want to travel and contribute in building our nation please.

The government should honestly crack a heavy whip on all those found offside. If Jesus was here today he would say “let him who is without sin crack the first whip.” The first step is to temporarily stop Ecocash agents from operating because they are now fully behind black market instead of core business. Ecocash agents will be allowed when our own currency is now readily available.

Individuals’ accounts should be monitored and frozen by banks for dubious activities. In other countries, banks do phone you if you get a lump sum from elsewhere to ascertain the source and whether it is from clean deals.

The banks themselves are not to be spared; they need to be monitored against their allocations from the central bank if they have disbursed to people. Selling cash is now a tempting and lucrative business than the core mandate of banking. Who will now monitor the monetary authorities?

People are becoming overnight millionaires. Professionals are suffering and even walking home on foot because there is no fuel. It is either you can’t afford the prices which continue to rise or you don’t have the cash they are now demanding at the pump.

You go to the bank you are given RTG$50 if you are lucky. What can it buy except jiggles for kids?  After paying cash, fuel stations sell it at 30% what a quick pyramid scheme? As if that is not enough, the fuel has been adulterated with too much ethanol blending (mandatory 20%) that make it short lived and actually more expensive for the struggling masses.

People no longer have status in the society, it is time to mix and mingle as you walk home with sweepers, Professors and Doctors. Salaries are no longer enough to meet the basic needs. A paper bag of groceries wipes away a civil servant’s salary. The cushioning allowance is only helping to push prices up without itself buying even a 2kg of surf. Where are we going as a nation?

But who has the clean slate to advocate for an overhaul in the financial sector. This capitalistic economy is not good. A few people getting rich on the majority’s sweat is not good. Indeed God will hear the prayers of the saints and give us a lasting solution.

I raised the red flag soon after Prof. Mthuli’s fiscal policy in 2018. I could smell death in the cooking pot. Indeed nothing seems to be materialising besides the suffering of millions of people. We hear of surplus money from taxes, let it be used to cushion us from inflationary pressures.

I went to the rural areas, people are distressed. No one seems to understand what is really happening. People are hopeless. I did not know what to tell the old grandmothers and grandfathers. As for me, my hope is in Christ, that one day things will change for good.

I don’t really trust that there is anyone in Zimbabwe who can help us, only God is just. People are minding their tummies and families only.

But the government has the powers and resources to address this cancer of corruption which is proliferating in the society. Zimbabweans, we are punishing one another even in the way we are pricing our goods and services. If this harsh economic climate persists, I foresee disaster in the coming agricultural season. Government should act now before it is too late!

From the cries of a hopeful son of the soil.

Apostle Dr James Madzimure is apolitical and writes in personal capacity as an analyst of the macroeconomic environment. The views expressed in this article are purely from a professional perspective and do not in any way reflect the ideas of the organisations he may be affiliated to.