It’s exactly 8 days after the Finance Minister announced the introduction of a new tax whenever we transact on electronic platforms. He of course made the announcement at the same event where the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe announced the separation of bank accounts into a dedicated RTGS funds account and another for hard currency deposits.
The chatter that resulted from these two announcements has been just crazy. Everything was said from the legality or illegality of one or both of the announcements to partisan debates that profit nothing to just sighs of resignation across the country. Besides the debate though, real changes have ensued. Prices are now going up by the hour or less when they were going up daily just prior. It feels a lot like 2008 2.0.
President Mnangagwa has commented on the 1 October pronouncements and essentially described them as bitter medicine. He might as well have quoted the Shona proverb that says, “Muti unovava ndounorapa (it’s the bitter herb/root that heals effectively)”
Here’s the president’s statement:
Last week, Minister of Finance Mthuli Ncube, drawing on his vast experience as chief economist and vice president at the African Development Bank (AfDB), announced a series of measures to reform and revive our economy, and put us on the path to steady economic growth. Cognisant of the scale and urgency of the challenges facing us, our plan is bold and far-reaching, and will have the desired effect.
I have read your comments and understand the difficulties many face, and Government will do all in its power to minimise them. We are already taking the lead by cutting back on unnecessary spending. The only way to a stronger economy is to restructure, rebuild and reform. We must all be realistic. Whatever some may claim, there are no silver bullets or quick fixes. There is no need to panic, and Government is guaranteeing the availability of all essential commodities, including fuel. We are on a shared journey to a better and more secure future. The road is long, winding and at times bumpy, but there is no other way. This is the road to a middle-income economy, and if we travel it together, with patience and purpose, we will realise our vision.
We sincerely hope that the president is right.
Of course, to get a clear understanding how the electronic transactions landscape looks like in Zimbabwe, buy the Techzim Insights Report that covers this. It’s only $4.99 via EcoCash below: