Sunday, 15 May 2022

US$ TO STAY, SAYS MTHULI NCUBE

FINANCE and Economic Development Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube, has encouraged Zimbabweans to use both the Zimbabwe dollar and United States dollar as the country transitions towards adoption of a mono currency.

Prof Ncube, who met with Dubai and Indian investors in Harare yesterday, said in an interview that there was no need for Zimbabweans to call for dollarisation.

He said the country needs both currencies to ensure a smooth transition.

“In terms of the use of the US dollar and the Zimbabwe dollar, we often hear people say why don’t you just dollarise?

“We have already done that because as I speak, you and I do use US dollars in the shops, but we also use Zimbabwe dollars. We are using both currencies already so there is no problem.”

He said the Government has allowed the use of both currencies as this is necessary.

“When you are going through a transition one day we will get to a point where we will only use the Zimbabwe dollar or a mono currency, but we are not there yet.”

He added that because of sanctions and the inability to service some loans, Zimbabwe was under strain in terms of access to credit lines from abroad.

Resultantly, he noted, the country has debt arrears and that impacts the capacity of both the Government and the private sector.

“We have no choice but to keep the two currencies,” he added.

Minister Ncube said Government is determined to ensure a stable economic environment.

“Coming to some of the domestic issues in terms of currency reform agenda, we did that measure in terms of a temporary halting of lending to burst the bubble that had emerged on the foreign currency front.

“This is in terms of the parallel market bubble as well as on the equity front and the stock market,” he explained.

He said some market players were engaging in speculative activity, which was being drawn from cheap loans and preferential loans from some banks.

Prof Ncube further said he was impressed by the speed at which the Dubai and Indian investors are starting their businesses in the country.

“In the mining sector, the investors told me how they are pushing in terms of getting their projects going in platinum as well as gold.

“In the health sector, they are keen on bringing key drugs and vaccines into Zimbabwe and virtually establish facilities for making those locally.”

“I was also able to get a report on the agriculture sector where the investors want to extend and support our Pfumvudza programme, turning our small-scale farmers into even more productive farms using technology. They will also partly finance the Pfumvudza programme working jointly with the Government,” he said.

The investors, Prof Ncube added, are also set to build a cyber-city near the new Parliament building in Mt Hampden, which will attract “the crème de la crème in the world in terms of ICT and entrepreneurship”.

“We are going to have a ground breaking ceremony early next week with His Excellency,” he said.

“It is clear that Zimbabwe is open for business and these individuals have a vision.”

A factory to recycle used oil is also on the cards, with a building already having been identified to start the project, revealed Prof Ncube. Sunday Mail

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