Redollarisation of Zim Economy could suffocate socio-economic rights

The Re-dollarisation of the economy undermines the enjoyment of socio-economic rights inclusive of health, education, water and sanitation, and housing, said Naome Chakanya, a Senior Researcher and Development Economist from the Labour and Economic Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe (LEDRIZ).

This highlight was aired during a heated online dialogue that was facilitated by Women’s Institute for Leadership Development (WILD) with a group of academics, members of the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), the media, university students, residents associations, and political leaders. The discussion was held so as to bring out how the Redollarisation of the Zimbabwean economy would impact the socio-economic status among the citizenry.

“Even some landlords are charging rentals in United States Dollars (USD) to preserve value but such distortions then add to the burden of women above other multiple roles,” said Chakanya. “The problem is that not everyone is earning in foreign currency as compared to the 2009 multi-currency era. In that case inequalities tend to rise and it is the vulnerable and poor that are affected more.”

Speaking during the discussion forum, Zimbabwean economist John Robertson, cited that in its recovery plan, Zimbabwe ought to increase confidence levels throughout the business sector by reducing regulatory handicaps and removing barriers that block investors.

“Investors are discouraged by government moves and restrictions. We need to encourage investors and not frighten them away. Government wants a share of every new investment and that is also discouraging new capital inflows.”

Both speakers bemoaned how COVID-19 hit Zimbabwe at a time when the country experiencing economic hemorrhage.

“Everyone has been directly affected by COVID-19 although in a diverse manner,” said Roberston. “The coronavirus disease hit the country when we were already down. All we need as a country are brave decisions to climb out of this hole. Harsh interferences imposed by the authorities have affected operators ranging from cross border traders to street vendors. Their welfare is not covered by the economic stimulus package.”

Chakanya said COVID -19 was a wake-up call that Zimbabwe needs to reindustrialise and invest in value chains to unlock our national potentials. She noted that the closure of borders and international lockdowns were great lessons for Zimbabwe to have inward policy and desist from over reliance on imports.

Delegates raised varied views on the Redollarisation of the Zimbabwean economy, with some supporting the move.

“The Redollarisation of the Zimbabwean economy at this juncture is the way to go. Our own currency has tumbled greatly against other currencies and we just have to tighten controls,” said one delegate.

Another delegate cited: “It remains logical to maintain a multi-currency system in the short term but work on taking full control of the currency system so as to remain functional. The other challenge is the government will be under pressure from the Civil service who are demanding the greenback. This will hasten the process of demonetising the multi-currency to bring stability, albeit worsening the situation to the ordinary citizen.”

Robertson implored on the government to introduce policies that could focus on the removal of barriers placed in the way of the investors to rebuild Zimbabwe and turn it into an investor friendly environment.

Source: Women’s Institute for Leadership Development

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