Zimbabwe to reintroduce local currency | TSA (10/14/23)
Zimbabwe is set to once again have its own local currency and will enforce the use of this in its attempt to restore economic growth.
Thus, the annoying practice of paying in one currency and receiving change in another (or in a handful of several others) is expected to come to an end in that country.
Mnangagwa said that Zimbabwe will bring back a national currency as its legal tender since the country cannot develop using several foreign currencies.
Mnangagwa stated this when speaking at the ceremony where he was sworn into office for a second term.
BASKET OF CURRENCIES
Zimbabwe adopted a multi-currency regime in February 2009 to combat spiking inflation. It has been using a basket of different currencies as legal tender since 2009 when the country saw economic instability.
“In 2009 our currency collapsed and former President Mugabe appointed a committee of five people, which I chaired, to look into the currency issue. We agreed that for us to survive we had to create a basket of currencies and to allow our own currency to die.” Mnangagwa said, per The Chronicle.
The arrangement which allows the use of several foreign currencies is guaranteed until December 2025, under Statutory Instrument (SI) 118A of 2022.
During his recent swearing-in ceremony, Mnangagwa said that Zimbabwe will put into place measures that will entrench the use of a single currency.
This is because using a single national currency will help to bring sustainable growth and development to the independent country which was known as the “Breadbasket of Africa”.
Through the use of a sole currency, a government has control over its monetary policy. It is also better able to manage capital flows. Ultimately, this enables a state to protect its own interests.
Using a national currency enables a state to respond to the challenges it faces and to design policies that meet its specific needs.
Mnangagwa said that using multiple currencies is not in the country’s best interests as this does not enable sustainable growth.
“We must bite the bullet. Whether it gives us some suffering for a period, we shall proceed to have our own currency – not a situation where the economy has a regime of currencies in use. We want a single currency and we are going there.” Mnangagwa said.
Zimbabwe wants new IMF staff-monitored programme by April | The Zimbabwean (10/13/23)
HARARE (Reuters) – Zimbabwe hopes to agree a new staff-monitored programme with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) by April next year, with an IMF team due to visit later this month for initial talks, its finance minister said on Thursday.
“Our intention is that by the time we go for the Spring Meetings in April 2024 we should have signed off on a staff-monitored programme,” Mthuli Ncube told reporters in Marrakech at the IMF and World Bank Annual Meetings.
“It will focus on maintaining discipline on the fiscal front and continue fine-tuning our exchange rate system and maintaining a tight monetary policy.”
An IMF staff-monitored programme is an informal agreement under which Fund staff keep tabs on a member country’s economic programme. If successful it could lead to a financial arrangement in the future.
Zimbabwe’s economy has been scarred by successive bouts of hyperinflation.
Zimbabwe Worker Exodus Intensifies With Economy in Meltdown | Bloomberg (10/14/23)
Years of mass migration from Zimbabwe has gained fresh impetus as an economic meltdown continues unabated, further denuding the country of the scarce skills it needs to engineer a turnaround.
Census data released by neighboring South Africa this week showed the country was home to 1.01 million Zimbabwean immigrants last year, up from 672,308 at the last count in 2011 and an average annual increase of almost 31,000. Emigration data released for the first time by Zimbabwe’s statistics agency in September last year showed 908,913 of the country’s estimated 16 million nationals were living abroad, and 85% of them were in South Africa.
Those numbers are likely an undercount, with frequent migration between neighboring countries making an accurate assessment tricky and undocumented foreigners unlikely to participate in population surveys.
Once a regional grain exporter and one of Africa’s best-educated nations, Zimbabwe went into free-fall in 2000 after then-President Robert Mugabe backed the seizure of land from White commercial farmers. Export earnings collapsed and hyperinflation ensued, which led to the abolishment of the national currency in 2009.
Mugabe was toppled in 2017 and his successor Emmerson Mnangagwa proclaimed the country “open for business,” yet less than one in 10 workers are formally employed and most of those that are struggle to make ends meet.
While land grabs tapered off a few years after 2000, the government has taken a series of other policy missteps that have hamstrung economic growth and undermined investor confidence. They include a 2019 decision to reintroduce the Zimbabwe dollar, which has distorted the foreign exchange market and caused inflation to spiral once again.
Further confirmation of the ongoing worker exodus comes from the UK, which eased entry rules last year to address skills shortages that followed its 2016 exit from the European Union and the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. Visas were issued to 20,152 Zimbabwean health and social care staff in the 12 months through June, an almost five-fold increase from the year before, and the third-most in the category after way-more-populous Nigeria and India, Foreign Office data show. It estimated that more than 112,000 Zimbabweans were living in the UK, almost five times the number authorities in the African nation reported 10 months earlier.
There has been “noticeable increase” in immigration to the UK over the past year, resulting in a brain drain across a range of professions, said Norman Matara, the secretary-general of Zimbabwe Doctors For Human Rights. “It’s mostly because of the state of the economy and the low remuneration that professionals are getting.”
A pick-up in the support that Zimbabweans working abroad provide to their relatives back home is another indicator of the emigration trend. Remittances rose 15% to $919 million in the six months through June from the year-ago period, and accounted for 16% of the country’s foreign currency earnings of $5.5 billion, according to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
The likelihood of Zimbabwe’s prospects improving appear slim, with Mnangagwa, 81, pledging policy continuity after winning another five-year term in a disputed election in August. The country has had no access to foreign lines of credit for more than two decades and is seeking to restructure $18 billion of debt.
The Zimbabwe dollar is widely spurned, and US dollars are used to buy everything from food and fuel to medicine. The local unit officially trades at more than 5,000 to the greenback and highest denomination note can’t even buy a single tomato.
A slew of anecdotal evidence suggests migration picked up in the run-up to the election, which extended the ruling party’s 43-year tenure and was marred by allegations of rigging.
The Zimbabwe Red Cross Society, St. John Ambulance Association, state universities and privately-run Cimas Medical Aid, which offer short nursing-aid courses, have been flooded by applicants, including teachers and other professionals, who hope to secure jobs abroad.
Cimas has trained 350 people since it introduced its three-week courses in March last year and plans to increase enrollments due to high demand, said Vulindlela Ndlovu, the company’s chief executive officer. At least three-quarters of graduates relocated to the UK, the former colonial power, he said.
The government has bemoaned the loss of its professionals, with Deputy President Constantino Chiwenga urging lawmakers to draft a law to stop other countries recruiting them from Zimbabwe. It was “a crime” when nations failed to train their own personnel and then hired them in poor countries, where people died in hospitals because there were no nurses and doctors to treat them, he said.
The Zimbabwe Teachers Association estimates that 300 teachers are leaving their jobs each month, and has warned that their exit will take a heavy toll on education standards and the economy. The teachers are paid $200 in basic pay a month on average, less than a tenth of what they can earn as caregivers in the UK.
“The government is putting in money to subsidize the social services of developed countries,” said Sifiso Ndlovu, the CEO of the association, which has 39,000 members.
The Bankers Association of Zimbabwe, which represents the nation’s 19 lenders, estimates that between 2% and 4% of the industry’s workforce is emigrating annually. The bulk of those leaving are cashiers, tellers, clerks and other entry-level staff who manage to raise the about $6,000 that they need to relocate, but there have also been a number of high-level departures, said Lawrence Nyazema, the association’s president.
Accountants and information technology specialists are also emigrating, mainly because their salaries aren’t competitive, and their departures aren’t being accurately recorded, according to Memory Nguwi, the managing consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants, a Harare-based human resources firm.
“They do their paperwork quietly behind the scenes and just leave,” he said. “Sometimes they just resign once they are already out of the country.”
Source: Dinar Recaps
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