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GDP forecast to slow down

Eric Chiriga

THE country’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth for 2005 is expected to decelerate by minus 3,5% from last year’s minus 6,4%, Finhold has said. “There is

going to be a decrease in the rate of decline of GDP growth but the figures remain negative,” an official at Finhold said.

This is contrary to Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor, Gideon Gono’s claim that the economy will register positive GDP growth.

“We anticipate a GDP growth of between 3% and 5% this year,” Gono said while presenting his monetary policy statement for the fourth quarter, 2004 on Wednesday.

In his monetary policy statement for the third quarter to September 30, Gono also forecast 2005 GDP growth of 4%.

Economic analyst John Robertson said there was going to be a shrinkage of GDP this year.“The governor’s forecast GDP growth figure of between 3% and 5% totally contradicts evidence on the ground,” he said.

He said there was confusion and uncertainty about government plans in the mining sector, tourism was weak while the manufacturing sector was declining.

Over the past four years, the major contributors to the country’s GDP, namely agriculture, manufacturing and tourism have been in free-fall since government embarked on the controversial land reform programme.

Tobacco production, formerly the country’s major foreign currency earner, has gone down by 58% during the same period.

Maize production has also decreased by 72%, according to the Commercial Farmers Union.

Manufacturing has declined by more than 35%.

At its peak, tourism contributed 6,5% to total GDP while agriculture and manufacturing contributed 16% and 18% respectively.

GDP is one of the key components of measuring the country’s economic performance.

Zimbabwe is in its sixth year of economic recession, which was sparked by the violent seizure of white commercial farms in 2000.

Gono is however optimistic that GDP growth will return to positive territory because of the combined effects of the concessional financing facility and increased foreign currency availability.

He said the rapid decline in inflation and improved confidence in the productive sector would help boost the economy.

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