In God we trust’ – Gono

Ngoni Chanakira

RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono on Wednesday ended his monetary policy review statement by asking God to take care of Zimbabwe’s ailing economy.


<
FONT face=”Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>Gono said while much progress had been achieved on the monetary policy statement issued in December more still needed to be done, especially on the inflation front.


“Our year-end target of 200% remains achievable provided we sustain current efforts and buttress them with further fiscal and monetary measures,” Gono said. “Failure to sustain and improve on current efforts, including failure to exercise restraint on costs such as fuel, electricity, water, wages and salaries in 2004, will militate against inflation targets and further worsen our plight.”


Metropolitan Bank chairman Enoch Kamushinda in an interview praised the governor’s performance.


“This is a hands-on monetary policy statement review,” he said. “All the others have been too academic and useless.”


Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) vice-president Stoff Hawgood said while he welcomed some of the proposals on agriculture, nothing was being said about property rights affecting farmers.


“As long as we have Section 5 and Section 8s being served on farmers they cannot do anything on their farms,” he said. “Government should also come clean on the 25% foreign currency retention scheme that is still a headache for farmers because it is unviable. More measures are still needed to return our once vibrant farming sector to viability.”


Zimbabwe Tourism Council chairman and Zimsun group chief executive officer Shingi Munyeza said the decision to allow his members to liquidate foreign currency at 100% of the auction rate was welcome.


“We can also repatriate our funds much earlier because of the contracting system,” he said.


Jewel Bank chairman and former RBZ deputy governor Richard Wilde said more needed to be done on the auction rate which was killing exports. The Zimbabwe dollar has hovered between $4 200 and $4 400 against the United States greenback at the auction floor.


“We need to encourage exports because this is where we get our foreign currency from,” Wilde said.


Outgoing Barclays Bank of Zimbabwe managing director Alex Jongwe said Gono’s strength was that he consulted widely and was, therefore, able to capture the mood of the country.


“You cannot please everyone all the time,” Jongwe said. “He needs to do more on the auction system which is adversely affecting exports.”


Some business executives said however they felt the governor was now taking over the role of the Finance ministry. They said the RBZ was now doing virtually everything. But others approved.


“In any company the finance director runs the show,” said Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce president Luckson Zembe.


“If the governor finds that the ministry is sleeping then he needs to run with the monetary policy statement and get things done. Unlike the minister, the governor has a deadline.”


Indigenisation activist and Zanu PF Chinhoyi provincial chairman Phillip Chiyangwa said he was happy about what was in the statement especially for the “indigenous population”.


“It is wonderful what the governor has done for them,” he said.