I’m not sleeping, says Chinamasa

IN a move that shows government has failed in its plans to turn around the economy, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa has called on captains of industry to bring forward concept papers on how to revive the economy.

Elias Mambo

Addressing captains of industry at the just-ended Institute of Chartered Accountants of Zimbabwe (Icaz) winter school in Victoria Falls, Chinamasa said the state of the economy requires an inclusive approach where everyone brings forward ideas on how to turn around the economy.

“I am inviting you to bring concept papers through your council because you have strong links with foreign investors who have capital which we do not have here,” Chinamasa said.

“I am not sleeping because I am trying to come up with ideas that may help revive this economy. We have a challenge because wherever we go investors are saying there is need for policy clarity, especially on indigenisation. We are currently reviewing the policy so that it is clear because investment security is important for the economy to take off.

“No one wants to lend Zimbabwe money anymore because we have defaulted in the past. Whether we go to Zambia or to Malawi, it’s the same thing because we are indebted to these countries. We are on our own and we have to be more innovative.”

He also said he would continue re-engaging the international community to try and attract foreign direct investment.

Since his appointment as Finance minister, Chinamasa has made many foreign trips and met potential investors as Zimbabwe seeks a loan to fund its ambitious Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZimAsset), a policy document pitched as the panacea for economic revival by the Zanu PF government. ZimAsset requires about US$27 billion to implement.

In his address, Chinamasa said he was shocked to discover that the Senegalese government was awarded a US$7 billion loan after they requested US$3 billion from the European Union.

“Three weeks ago, I went to Senegal and discovered that they were offered a US$7 billion loan from the EU after they requested US$3 billion. They were oversubscribed and imagine how that can help our economy if we were to get such an amount,” he said.

A heightening financial squeeze is forcing Zimbabwe’s administration to broaden its options for an emergency bailout and the country has now turned to Russia. Chinamasa and Mines minister Walter Chidhakwa left for Moscow on Sunday to plead with various investors for cash injections.

Apart from the liquidity constraints, Zimbabwe is also saddled with a US$10 billion debt.

Economic analysts say with Zimbabwe’s poor debt payment record, it would be difficult for any international lender to extend credit lines to the country which is suffering from a severe liquidity crunch.

Economist Godfrey Kanyenze, director of labour and economic development for Research Institute of Zimbabwe, said Zimbabwe is facing deeper structural challenges.

“The country is experiencing a deeper structural malaise as companies close shop everyday resulting in a highly informalised economy,” Kanyenze said. “This results in shrinking liquidity as money is not getting into the banking sector. The economy cannot grow when 84% of all jobs are informal.”

During heated debate in Victoria Falls, a Zambia-based Icaz member Elisha Tsindikidzo took Chinamasa to task over what government is doing to attract investors.

“What is government doing with regards to boosting investor confidence because there are promises which do not materialise in the end?” Tsindikidzo asked.

Chinamasa’s response centred on the controversial indigenisation policy.

“As I have already indicated, cabinet and (the Zanu PF) politburo tasked Indigenisation minister Francis Nhema to review the policy so that there is clarity,” he said. “The one-size-fits-all has failed to entice investors. We are synchronising our policies and, besides, we have a problem with our wage bill which takes up a large chunk of our budget, 78%. That does not need an international economist to tell us that our wage bill is not sustainable.”

However, Nhema has denied he is reviewing the indigenisation policy.

Chinamasa’s call for help from captains of industry comes at a time when the country’s economy has underperformed in the first half of the year with the country’s gross domestic product growing by a mere 1,8% in the first six months of the year amid indications the second half will be worse.

Chinamasa’s plea to captains of industry appears to contradict recent statements by Mugabe that the economy was on the rebound.
Addressing guests at the 2014 President’s Medal Shoot Competition prize-giving ceremony in Harare, Mugabe said the Zanu PF government had employed several strategies to get the economy out of the woods.

“Let me assure our people that the country’s economy is on a recovery path. Government is going to employ several measures aimed at achieving desired results. Key among such strategies is ZimAsset,” he said.

4 thoughts on “I’m not sleeping, says Chinamasa”

  1. Goredema says:

    futseke! vachipa mbavha semi…dzisingabhadhari zvikwereti? vanenge vadhakwa nei havo?

  2. Chris Veremu says:

    It would take something short of genius to be able to sleep amidst all the noise herr Minister. The exploding whooshing sound of wholesale thuggery by some in leadership makes sure the Minister will not get any sleep. This is Darwinism amplified as some in leadership are shouting loud and hard that they deserve to rob everyone of everything in sight since the alone have monkeys and pigs up their family trees so they steal to get to the trough first. This folk made of no lesser ill ilk have dedicated with singular intent to destroy the little that is left of the nation’s soul…And for this they feel we shoud cheer them! Mystery that herr Minister needs to kick in the face is why are the thieves not getting enough with their hunter, gather and destroy existence? They still appear to be as poor as we are..So if this is high grade IDIOCY somebody tell me what it is. I have in mind here thieves of our national resources who are being robbed blind by money launders and changers who insist on paying around 25 cents to the dollar. This means these thieves are not this smart if they are throwing away 75% of their gains in this sick fashion…Try banking the proceeds from this extractive thuggery in Africa and you wont have to throw so much into the sea…And in any case how do you talk to the same imperialists you call names everyday when you go banking or are forced to make withdrawals? Sezvo hapasisina kumeso you have to swallow the insults as you make these withdrawals..

  3. Chris Veremu says:

    …part of above should read “this is not high grade idiocy…”

  4. Joyce Mujuru says:

    comrade Chinamasa,
    The answer to jump start the economy is very simple really – allow investors to invest and to make money without these 51% or 49% indigenous controls that you have. You, in your individual capacity are worth 100% of whatever. Would you go to a country or village for that matter where uon arrival they tell you you are worth 49% for no real reason? They take your 51% just because.
    Indigenization law – change it honourably by coming up with a “protection of investments Act or something along those line to give people confidence that their moeny will be safe. Then hold yourselves accountable to this standard.
    Also honestly review the priorities of where the little money you have goes.
    Comrade – where is the diamond money going? Account, account and account and people will see you are serious and trust worthy. If not, we promise, no money coming your way soon.

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