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Tsvangirai’s unacademic economic guesses inept

Gwinyai Mutongi

MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, was once described by one political observer as someone who often opens his mouth while his mind is tightly shut.

To his supporters, this sounded rather like a harsh and unwarranted assessment yet, interestingly, Tsvangirai continues to expose himself in similar fashion as someone who has a narrow appreciation of important national issues.

When commenting on the looming introduction of bond notes and other monetary measures from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Tsvangirai reportedly told the Dailynews on 7 June 2016 that, “Zimbabweans will resist the bond notes and if they are not acceptable locally, what about to foreigners? It doesn’t work, there is no economy that can be run on bond notes.”

This is a typical ‘open mouth, closed mind’ scenario.

It is a rushed response that sounds uneducated and full of spite.

Like a respectful national politician he is expected to be, Tsvangirai should have researched on the topic before availing his insipid thoughts or ignorance to the media, for it is common knowledge that most Zimbabweans, including the concerned stakeholders such as the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) and the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe (BAZ) have publicly backed the introduction of bond notes and other measures to plug the leakage of foreign currency from the country.

A simple research or a perusal of publicly available RBZ literature would have awakened Tsvangirai to the fact that bond notes by their nature will only be used locally and never to be circulated outside the country.

This simple fact would have stopped him from making embarrassing and uninformed claims that foreigners would reject the bond notes.

On what basis, and in what capacity, would foreigners reject the use of bond notes in Zimbabwe?

The use of bond notes has nothing to do with foreigners, whether they accept them or not is out of question.

If my kindergarten child knows that bond notes are for local use only, doesn’t this shame the ridiculous prediction by Tsvangirai that foreigners would snub the use of bond notes?

Who would have thought that a leader of a national opposition party would be so clueless on such a rudimentary economic issues?

It shows that the MDC-T leader is not paying attention to national issues but is only hooked on trivial opposition sideshows.

He opposes matters for the sake of opposing them, not for the sake of proffering alternatives or seeking to salvage the economy from the sanctions-induced economic morass.

In his utterances, Tsvangirai fails to see the bigger picture on the monetary front but only focuses on bond notes.

Maybe we could take this opportunity to school Tsvangirai on the benefits accruing from the recent RBZ monetary interventions.

Maybe it will be helpful to highlight the challenges that precipitated the intervention by the RBZ to enable the MDC-T leader to appreciate their benefits.

The country is gripped by stifling cash shortages, unmatched externalization of foreign currency and a distorted financial system that worships cash transactions.

This is what the RBZ came to clean up.

So far, the measures instituted by the RBZ had managed to inculcate a culture of using plastic money by consumers.

Now the country is morphing into a cashless society in which most transactions are conducted via a plethora of electronic platforms thus eliminating an unnecessarily huge demand for cash.

Already, many traders and retailers have inserted point of sale points, allowing customers to access services without the hassle of looking for cash.

In line with the latest developments, efforts are also being made to reduce bank charges to easy the electronic transfers.

Already Steward Bank has slashed its charges on RTGS transactions by 50%, with the rest of the banking sector expected to follow suit soon.

The measures introduced by the Reserve Bank have also opened up the market to the use of other currencies other than the US dollar.

Other currencies have of late been sidelined in preference of the US dollar.

Major import transactions have been conducted using the US currency, with the importation of used Japanese vehicles being a glaring and hemorrhaging example.

The new monetary measures put in place by the RBZ have curtailed the use of the US dollar in by directing all importers to use the currency of the source country.

Now anyone who wishes import a used vehicle is required to use the currency of the source country instead of the widely used US dollar.

This would ease the pressure on the demand for the US currency and partially resolve the liquidity challenges.

With this in mind, it is foolhardy for uninformed politicians like Tsvangirai to feign to be economist who can predict doom on the country.

Tsvangirai should just shut up rather than foul our ears with his uneducated economic guesses.

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