SINCE Patrick Zhuwao’s appointment to the ministry of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment, he has been all over the show saying a number of things that have not only ruffled potential investors, but also ordinary citizens concerned about the state of the economy and direction of the country.
Candid Comment by Faith Zaba
In the month since his appointment on September 10, Zhuwao has urged government to stop looking to Western countries for foreign direct investment (FDI), saying instead, it should concentrate on courting nationals in the diaspora whom he claimed are sitting on an estimated US$50 billion in savings.
He says the indigenisation policy and foreign direct investment go hand in hand and rebuts arguments the policy scares away international investors.
The new minister naively or deceitfully promised to create 2,2 million jobs by 2018 like his party, Zanu PF, amid economic implosion.
Zhuwao has made it clear that he does not support initiatives linked to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank. He has vowed to protect youth officers in his ministry who make up the majority of ghost workers on the government payroll, saying Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa risked being fired for trying to reduce the bloated wage bill.
Zhuwao is also proposing to introduce a 10% levy on foreign companies’ gross revenue when they are already being over-taxed in Zimbabwe. Obviously this can only help ruin the firms. If they are taxed to death, they will close, further reducing revenue for depleted government coffers.
That the country needs FDI is indisputable. Every single economist worth his salt has been saying that, so have Chinamasa and Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa. All countries in the world including China have developed through attracting huge amounts of FDI. Zimbabwe desperately needs capital.
All that Zhuwao has been doing is acting like a fly in the ointment. He is being a spoiler in Chinamasa’s re-engagement efforts, undercutting him at every turn.
It just makes one wonder what his real objective is, besides obvious political expediency. Do they work for the same government or even attend the same cabinet meetings weekly?
Zimbabwe owes the IMF, World Bank and AfDB — that can’t be wished away. To access new money from these multilateral lenders, there is need to first clear arrears.
One hopes that after having served in government and politburo before, Zhuwao knows about collective responsibility in cabinet.
He must express his opinions in the collective forum of cabinet and stop behaving like a bull in a China shop. Lashing out in every direction and kicking up dust makes it difficult to understand what he is on about.
Could this be a poor way of imitating Julius Malema, seeking media attention or trying to push a sinister agenda which is not yet clear to the majority?
Whichever way, Zhuwao is irresponsibly making a bad situation worse.