The first of the two monetary policy presentations for 2019 has just happened. The presentation was very late according to the legal schedule. We in media only got a very last minute heads up that the event would be today. Even now, we are scraping around to get the document itself.
It looks like the authorities are deliberately keeping the policy document and the policy itself out of media and public scrutiny.
State media playing the silence game
The state broadcaster, ZBC was showing Puss in Boots, an old animated movie during the presentation of the monetary policy statement by John Mangudya. The state-controlled newspapers like The Herald and The Chronicle were and still are uncharacteristically silent about this presentation. Even the radio stations are mum.
It’s like they don’t want anyone to know that such a presentation has happened. Why? Is it because they are afraid of the market reactions to the policies announced and unannounced? If so then they are starving the market of full information in a bid to control that reaction. The English word for that is manipulation!
The governor was done in a jiffy
John Mangudya did not present much detail. His presentation was essentially a greeting, an introduction, some summary of the new RTGS dollar currency and then the conclusion. He promised details in the fuller document. The fuller document has not been made available and we are all left speculating. All we had here at Techzim, for example, was a 3 paged PDF. We have since got the full policy document which you can download here.
What could be going on?
The first possibility is what I mentioned earlier: the authorities want to control the market reaction and therefore are releasing information in trickles so as not to shock the market. If this is the reason then they are still living under rocks somewhere, the reality of our social media-saturated world is that information control is almost impossible.
Worse: starving people of information causes more anxiety which can result in more adverse market reactions than anything else they could fear.
The second possibility is that the monetary authorities (RBZ) and the fiscal authorities (Mthuli Ncube and government) are sabotaging each other. Some media reports said that there were sharp disagreements between Mangudya and Ncube last week. Is this why state media won’t be found anywhere near the monetary policy statement? The finance minister and the reserve bank have since denied the allegations.
So really the second possibility above is being considered because there is not enough information which emphasises my point that when information is scarce, all sorts of conclusions come forward, anxiety increases. We are all left wondering what on earth is in that document…
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Zimbabwe Broadcasting corporation is a state controlled broadcaster in Zimbabwe. Read More About ZBC
It is a state-owned daily newspaper that is published in Bulawayo under the Zimbabwe Newspapers (Zimpapers) stable. Read More About The Chronicle
The Herald is a daily newspaper and internet publication published under the Zimbabwe Newspapers (Zimpapers) stable in Harare. It is also the country's oldest newspaper still in print. Read More About The Herald