Mthuli Ncube tells EU Parly Zimbabwe’s problems are surmountable
FINANCE minister Mthuli Ncube has said the serious challenges facing the country, including a high budget deficit and significant debt, and currency challenges, were surmountable with major structural reforms.
Addressing the European Parliament yesterday, Ncube said what was required was urgent and bold action, and tough decisions.
“We cannot run away from the challenge — the longer we wait to address it, the harder it will be,” he said.
Ncube said government has developed a comprehensive plan to revive the economy and put the country on the path to steady economic growth.
“The only way to a stronger economy is to restructure, rebuild and reform,” he said.
“This plan involves some painful measures to get our national budget under control. These measures will be felt by all of us, but are unavoidable if we want to get our economy back on track. These measures are those of a doctor performing a lifesaving operation. They cause pain, but the pain is the only thing that will lead to a recovery. As Margret Thatcher once said: Yes, the medicine is harsh, but the patient requires it in order to live.”
Ncube added: “We must all be humble and austere, and government is leading by example. We are continuing to make big cuts to perks and unnecessary expenditure, so that government lives within its means.”
He said government was making structural reforms to liberalise the economy, privatise inefficient parastatals, reduce red tape, regulation and attract investment.
“It is vital that we do not panic. The money in Zimbabwean banks accounts is and continues to be of value, and government is guaranteeing the availability of all essential commodities, including fuel,” Ncube said.
“Amidst these reforms, our growth projections remains strong, a similar rate to some of the fastest growing economies in Africa. This is an indication of where we are going if we keep on this path.”
He said the new Zimbabwe cannot go it alone and must open its arms to the international community, international investors, and international financial organisations.