Saturday, January 23, 2021

Zimbabwe economy affected by politics says Finance Minister

Zimbabwe Finance Minister Tendai Biti said failure to implement the Global Political Agreement (GPA) signed between the parties in the unity government is affecting the country’s economic recovery.

The country’s three political parties, namely ZANU-PF led by President Robert Mugabe, the main MDC led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and the small breakaway faction of the MDC led by deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, signed a GPA in September last year. This GPA led to the formation of an inclusive government in February to run the country, which was in crisis for more than 10 years with inflation hitting a world record of 260 million percent.

Last month, Tsvangirai and Mutambara wrote to SADC chairperson, South African president Jacob Zuma, asking the regional bloc to intervene and resolve outstanding issues Mugabe’s rehiring of Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono and the appointment of Attorney-General Johannes Tomana last year.
The premier and his deputy want the appointments rescinded.
Tsvangirai finally met President Zuma this week and he promised to resolve the outstanding issues.

However, addressing businesspeople in Bulawayo on Friday, the country’s Finance Minister Biti, who is also the secretary general of Prime Minister Tsvangirai’s MDC, said that the failure to implement the GPA is affecting economic growth and this should be resolved urgently.

“Zimbabwe’s economy is still on its knees and for it to recover the GPA must be respected and it must be implemented in full. For a country’s economy to grow, there should be political stability. We need that and those violating the agreement should stop it.”

“We hope the SADC summit to be held in Kinshasa in the DRC this year will resolve these issues,” said Biti.

Biti also accused Zimbabwe’s coal producing company , the Hwange Colliery Company, of causing electricity shortages in the country by failing to supply enough coal to the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA).

“Hwange Colliery should be blamed for shortages of electricity in the country as there are failing to supply enough coal to ZESA for electricity generation. There are only producing 50 000 tonnes per month of coal instead of 250 000 tonnes required by Zesa per month,” said Biti.

Zimbabwe is currently facing severe power outages as regional suppliers have reduced power supplies that the nation’s power utility can import into the country at any given time due to a failure to pay-off debts.

Regional power utilities of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Mozambique and Zambia had given ZESA up to June 30 to clear a US$57 million debt for electricity supplies.

Zimbabwe owes $40.3 million to Hydroelectrica Cahora Bassa (HCB) of Mozambique, US$9.8 million to Snel of the Democratic Republic of Congo and $1.7 million to Zambia (Zambian Electricity Supply Commission) ZESCO.
A further $5.7 million is owed to Mozambican electricity distribution company, EDM Power.


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