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Zimbabwe heading back to 2008

Zimbabwe’s economy is slowly sliding back to the 2008 era with liquidity shortages, weak domestic demand and reduced supplies of local goods cited as the indications.

In 2008 cumulative Gross Domestic Product (GDP) fell sharply by 40%. Hyperinflation peaked at 500 million percent and nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP) stood at mere USD$3.5 million in 2009.

This came out during a forum organised by Mass Public Opinion Institute in Harare on Thursday 26 March 2015 to discuss the future of the country’s economy.

Speakers, who included Dr. Godfrey Kanyenze, Webber Chinyadza and Jacob Mafume, among others, contend that the Zimbabwean economy is heading back to 2008.

Director of the Labour and Economic Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe (LEDRIZ) Dr. Godfrey Kanyenze said, “The economy picked in 2009 growing at 12% but 2013 projected a decline, since then the economy has been faltering.

“We are witnessing structural regression,” said Dr Godfrey Kanyenze adding that any economy that is progressing structurally transforms itself in such a manner that the factors of production including labor are shifted from low productivity to high productivity

Webber Chinyanza echoed the above sentiments when he said that economic growth has significantly declined.

“The year on year percentage growth was initially high but it radically tattered off as drivers to that growth impetus lost steam.

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“The growth averaged 10% between 2009 and 2012 and declined to 4.5 % in 2013 and 3.1% in 2014,” said Chinyadza.

He went on to explain the causes of this decline.

“This decline cannot surprise anyone because fundamental and structural rigidities which have always militated against the expansion of the economy for decades remain unchanged.

“The country failed to invest in new production technologies to enable it to manufacture and trade in value added products not primary products,” he said.

Chinyadza revealed that the failure of the government to integrate subsistence into the formal economy also had an impact on the failure of the economy.

“70% of the country’s farmers still engage in subsistence farming and it is yet to be integrated into the formal economy,”

“Those people continue to be marginalized, contributing a disproportional small amount towards national output coming next to nothing for their labour,” he said.

He also said that the National GDP is projected to remain on or below 3% against the ZimAsset target of 6.1 %.

Jacob Mafume, Spokesperson of MDC Renewal team contends that the country is heading beyond 2008.

“We are doing reverse jive faster and we are heading beyond 2008. Industry was shutting down at an alarming rate in 2008. Fast forwarding to 2012 companies have not bothered to pay workers and most of them have closed.

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“We had stupid economic polices like Baccosi which tried to make goods cheap, now we have a funny Chinese plaza which sells purely Chinese products,” said Mafume.

According to a report entilted State Reconstruction In Zimbabwe 2011, living standards and life expectancy for the estimated population of 12 million fell more rapidly than anywhere else in the world.

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Journalist based in Harare

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