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Editor’s Memo

Gono’s crisis babies

By Vincent Kahiya

ZIMBABWEANS have learnt to derive comic relief from the crisis besetting this nation. Idle but lively banter around a dinner table on Monday brought out this nugget from a senior PR

practitioner who had listened thoughtfully to the perils of trying to obtain a birth certificate from the RG’s office.

The graying publicist suggested that the best form of contraception these days is the horror of trying to register the birth of a newly-born child.

There was raucous laughter around the table as the men contemplated the impact of Tobaiwa Mudede’s queues on the nation’s reproductive health.

Try to tell this to central bank governor Gideon Gono whose crisis children are increasing as queues get longer in Zimbabwe.

From the long food queues, a new crisis baby arrived safely this week amid pomp and ceremony. The baby, christened Bacossi, was feted by business and commentators on Monday as a great product of the governor’s exertions.

Bacossi is third in a crisis-riven family where siblings, Aspef and Plarp, are already proving difficult to look after because of their constant demands for financial resources which the family can scarcely afford.

The conception and birth of the third child — done with so much ease — is no surprise for a country that has not struggled to produce chaos and celebrate it as success.

Baby Bacossi is a facet of this chaos hewn from the loins of our governor (apologies to George). The Italian accent to the name has nothing to do with the child’s full name: Basic Commodities Supply-Side Intervention.

This is a grand project through which the governor expects to re-finance business so that there is food and other basket goods in the shops.

There are stunning similarities between Bacossi and siblings Agricultural Productivity Enhancement Facility, better known as Aspef and the Parastatals and Local Authorities Re-orientation Programme, shortened to Plarp.

As Bacossi was introduced to his brothers this week, he found that like them, he was conceived in the backroom of quasi-fiscal activities.

He was also told that the two poor brothers are fed on a soporific diet of worthless paper spewed from a printing press hence their insatiability.

They were born to be agents of positive change in the economy but they have become harbingers of economic collapse, inflation and, more importantly, corruption.

One feels sorry for the children because their creator Gono this week said under normal circumstances, it would be unnecessary to have these kids around. So why have them?

In his monetary policy statement on Monday, Gono said “no central bank governor likes government overspending … subsidised credit or any form of generalised subsidies to the economy except those targeted to cushion the vulnerable poor. We do not like them either.”

He said his extraordinary “interventions are never meant to be permanent features of our economic lives” but believes that they are necessary. Considering the extent of the crisis, Bacossi could be having a young brother soon!

This knight in shining armour strategy of running the economy has produced undisputed failure.

It was the government which killed agriculture through inept policies and an assault on property rights.

The same government has for three years been posturing as the saviour of agriculture by dishing out cheap loans under Aspef.

Despite $3,9 trillion having been disbursed to new farmers, Zimbabwe is still far from food self-sufficiency.

In fact the Manica Post reported two weeks ago that the country needs US$900 million this year to import food.

The story is no different in local authorities and parastatals which despite assistance have failed to provide basic amenities and services such as electricity and water.

Municipalities and state enterprises are in this state because of direct unprofessional interference from government which believes it can run everything — from a blair toilet at a growth point to sophisticated mining ventures.

The government has to learn to issue birth certificates first!

Bacossi has now come into being because government deliberately suffocated industry through price controls imposed three months ago.

Gono, to great applause this week, has come up with a facility to restore companies’ viabilities to pre-June 18 levels.

In other words, Gono is telling government that price controls savaged the economy so much that a special purpose vehicle is now required to restore it to the levels when there was no policy. It is the policy stupid!

Sometimes I feel that the governor enjoys this crisis baby-making process. He missed dabbling in QFAs and with it the pleasure of making babies. By the way, what happened to Fiscorp?

But QFAs have now been restored. Daddy vaBacossi is fortunate that he does not need to queue for hours to have the birth registered at Market Square because his children are temporary beings.

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