Zimbabwe’s Finance Ministry Urges Patience Over Economic Measures

March 16, 2024
Kudakwashe David Mnangagwa | Report Focus News
Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister Kudakwashe David Mnangagwa

Zimbabwe’s Deputy Finance Minister, Kudakwashe Mnangagwa, has appealed for patience from lawmakers as the government finalizes its new exchange rate management system, amid growing concerns over inflation and the depreciating value of the local currency.

Speaking in the National Assembly, Mnangagwa faced tough questions from MPs anxious about delays in releasing a crucial monetary policy document expected to address the country’s economic challenges. The assembly heard how inflation and exchange rate disparities have significantly eroded civil servants’ salaries, with one MP highlighting a drastic fall in purchasing power from the equivalent of US$60 to just US$5.

The issue of depreciating wages comes against a backdrop of rising public discontent, exacerbated by Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube’s announcement of the 2024 national budget, which set the official exchange rate far below the market’s current rate.

In response to concerns about achieving departmental targets amid the soaring exchange rate, Mnangagwa stressed the government’s intention to recalibrate its exchange rate management, aligning future financial planning with the new system. He indicated that details of these adjustments would be made available in the upcoming monetary policy statement, urging for a halt in debate until then.

The Deputy Minister assured that the government is aiming for comprehensive solutions, including a Fiscal Policy that will align with the forthcoming monetary policy, to tackle the economic issues facing the country. Additionally, measures are being considered to protect civil servant salaries from inflation and exchange rate fluctuations, including salary indexing.

The call for patience was met with demands for a clearer timeline on the policy’s release, highlighting the urgency and national importance of the situation. MPs, especially from the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change, have expressed frustration over the perceived inaction, stressing the need for immediate and effective government intervention to stabilize the economy and safeguard livelihoods.

The government’s response to these economic challenges remains a critical focus for Zimbabweans, as they await concrete steps to address the inflationary pressures and currency depreciation that have plagued the nation.