Economist Accuses Ministers of Misleading President Mnangagwa

by Adenike Adeodun

Prominent economist Gift Mugano raised concerns over President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s economic outlook for Zimbabwe, asserting that ministers might be providing misleading information.

According to a report by Newsday Zimbabwe, President Mnangagwa, in his State of the Nation Address, hailed significant growth in Zimbabwe’s mining and healthcare sectors. However, Mugano, who recently exited the Zimtrade board, claims these numbers don’t align with on-ground realities.

Regarding social media, Mugano noted, “During the State of the Nation Address, Mnangagwa stated that the mining sector has surged to US$12 billion from US$2.8 billion in 2017. This contrasts with projections from the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe, which estimates the mining sector will generate only US$7 billion next year.”

He pointed out that if Mnangagwa’s figures were accurate, then the combined value of the mining and agricultural sectors would equate to the nation’s entire economy. As of August 11, 2023, Zimbabwe’s GDP was pegged at ZWL$120.3 trillion, translating to US$20 billion at the official exchange rate.

Furthermore, Mugano referenced a ZimStat report that suggests mining’s contribution to the economy is just 13%. “By this estimate, if the mining sector were truly worth US$12 billion, the entire Zimbabwean economy would be valued at roughly US$92.3 billion,” he argued. He questioned the apparent absence of contributions from other sectors, such as manufacturing and services.

The economist also scrutinized Mnangagwa’s remarks at the United Nations General Assembly about Zimbabwe’s healthcare system. While the president described a thriving healthcare structure, Mugano highlighted the stark discrepancies, including drug shortages, lack of critical equipment, and personnel issues.

Emphasizing the importance of accurate data, Mugano said, “Verifiable and credible information is pivotal for economic planning and development.” He urged the government to share accurate statistics and performance reports regularly.

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