Ministers Accused of Misleading President on Zimbabwe’s Economy

by Victor Adetimilehin

Leading economist Gift Mugano has criticized President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government, alleging that ministers are providing false information about the state of Zimbabwe’s economy. This criticism follows President Mnangangwa’s recent State of the Nation Address in which he claimed significant improvements in the mining and healthcare sectors.


Mugano, who was recently removed from the Zimtrade board, challenged the figures presented by President Mnangagwa, asserting that they do not align with the actual economic conditions. Specifically, he disputed the claim that the mining sector had grown from US$2.8 billion in 2017 to US$12 billion, as reported by the President.


Contrary to the government’s ambitious goal of establishing a US$12 billion mining industry by 2023, the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe had previously projected a more modest figure of US$7 billion due to factors such as high operational costs, power outages, and a global recession.


Mugano also questioned the reported growth of the agricultural sector, which President Mnangagwa claimed had risen from US$5.7 billion to approximately US$8 billion in 2023. Combining the reported GDP figures of the mining and agricultural sectors, Mugano calculated that they totaled US$20 billion. However, he pointed out that Zimbabwe’s GDP as of August 11, 2023, stood at ZWL$120.3 trillion, equivalent to US$20 billion at the official exchange rate.


The economist further noted that recent data from ZimStat indicated that the mining sector’s contribution to the economy was only 13%. By extrapolation, Mugano estimated that the Zimbabwean economy’s actual size was approximately US$92.3 billion. This raised questions about whether other sectors like manufacturing and services had seen a drastic reduction in their contributions to GDP.


Mugano also criticized President Mnangagwa’s claims about the healthcare system during his presentation at the United Nations General Assembly. While the President had described the healthcare system as vibrant, Mugano highlighted the severe shortages of drugs, consumables, critical equipment, and personnel in reality.


Given that the services sector makes up 60% of the economy, with the remaining 40% shared between mining, manufacturing, and agriculture, Mugano called for the government to provide accurate and credible statistics and reports on the country’s economic performance.


Zimbabwe’s economic challenges have been a source of concern for both citizens and the international community. High inflation rates, currency instability, and a struggling healthcare system have contributed to the difficulties faced by the nation’s population.


In conclusion, Gift Mugano’s criticism of the Zimbabwean government’s economic reporting highlights the need for transparency and accuracy in assessing the nation’s economic health. With Zimbabwe facing numerous economic challenges, reliable data is essential for informed decision-making and progress.


Source: [Newsday Zimbabawe]


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