Press Release by The Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations (ZHOCD)
ZHOCD Press Statement after meeting with the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe on 6 June 2016.
The Church under the auspices of the Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations met with the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Dr John Mangudya and therefore sees it plausible to issue this press statement so as to give clarity and direction to the Church and its related stakeholders. This engagement is a beginning of future engagements to build trust and confidence in our economy.
- It is the Church’s view and conviction that the current economic crisis is a result of a protracted policy framework which has not been consistently and appropriately implemented. We are therefore calling on Government to ensure our policy framework is realigned to ensure economic growth, the attraction of foreign direct investment (FDI), exports generation and employment creation.
- We welcome the Governor’s recent monetary policy review statement amidst the current budget deficit which continues to grow is detrimental to our economy and its prospects for growth. We would like to implore Government to deal with the current fiscal indiscipline and corruption to augment the monetary policy review statement.
- The Church notes with deep concern the growing rampant corruption and that this cancer seeks to destroy our economy and indeed the fabric of our society. We therefore urge Government to address this urgently through the relevant Government institutions and law enforcement agencies or else the monetary policy intervention by the Governor will be futile.
- We also implore the Government to institute the much-needed economic reforms which will bring about economic transformation without delay. The Church acknowledges that such reforms will bring some pain to the populace but indeed will breathe new life into our economy which will lead to economic prosperity for all. Without these, we see no fruit In the Governors monitory policy Intervention initiatives.
- We appreciate the Governors commitment to end the current bank queues by accelerating the importation of the US dollar currency.
- We notice the commoditization of the US dollar with serious concern which has further worsened the chronic liquidity situation through externalization. The commoditization of the US dollar has led to low productivity, uncompetitive exports, and rampant cheaper imports leading to deindustrialization and massive job losses. We therefore implore Government through its law enforcement arms to curb the current rampant externalization.
- We urge Government through the Finance Ministry to explore ways of de-commoditizing the US dollar by widening the use of the multi-currency basket with the aim of achieving regional parity to retain our competitiveness. The Church therefore suggests that we use the currency that promotes exports and economic growth.
- We welcome the import prioritization list and we appreciate the immediate approval to make education fees for students studying abroad a priority one list item.
- We welcome the Governor’s drive towards the usage of plastic money to ease financial transactions and improve liquidity. We however, note with concern the high charges of plastic money transactions which militate against the Governor’s objective. We implore the Governor through the financial institutions to reduce, if not altogether eliminate transaction charges for plastic money transactions. We appeal to all service providers to readily accept this method of transaction.
- Lately we have experienced a delay in processing of local RTGS for a period up to 8 days between the relevant local banks. This further dampens confidence and trust. We therefore urge the Governor to assist in ensuring the RTGS are processed in real time through the relevant financial institutions.
- We have been made aware that the Governor has formed an enforcement team to ensure that business operators bank cash within 24 hours. The Church appreciates the enforcement of the law, however we implore the Governor not to be heavy handed to ensure there is buy-in and continual building of trust and confidence in the system. On the other hand, we urge fellow Zimbabweans to desist from hate language which further exacerbates the erosion of trust and confidence. We also encourage fellow Zimbabweans to confirm with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe on any laws that are being promulgated or enforced to avoid fueling of speculation which further erodes confidence and trust.
- We note with concern the high lending rates being charged by local financial institutions which work against growing our local industries and resultant employment creation. We are therefore kindly requesting the Governor to work with the local financial institutions in lowering these rates to below 10%.
- We have brought to the attention of the Governor the delays in getting diaspora remittances from local financial institutions. The Church believes these are free funds and should be immediately made available without limitations to existing daily withdrawal limits.
- Our economy desperately needs international support and collaboration at all levels. We therefore urge Government to quicken the pace in the re-engagement with the International Financial Institutions for debt restructuring, repayment and ability to access new credit lines and foreign direct investment. We note and appreciate the successes and progress made by the Governor as the Chairman of this re-engagement process. We stand In full support.
- The Church has been concerned and indeed in some cases afraid of the introduction of bond notes. In many ways this brings memories of the hyperinflation era when most people lost their assets, savings, livelihoods and pensions. However, the Church appreciates the reasoning in introducing this to benefit exporters so as to generate foreign currency as well as curb externalization. If the Governor proceeds with the Introduction of bond notes as an incentive to exporters, we therefore strongly suggest the following measures;
- The bond notes must have an expiry date not going beyond December2017,
- There must be an independent board to monitor the issuance of bond notes,
- We request the respective International Financial Institutions to monitor the issuance of these bond notes.
- We would also appeal to the institution that is printing these bond notes to be accountable to the independent board and the International Financial Institutions.
In conclusion, we would like to urge all Zimbabweans to be vigilant, tolerant and united to work together towards the transformation of our economy. The Church stands ready to work with the Governor and indeed the Government to ensure a prosperous Zimbabwe for all.
May God bless our nation Zimbabwe.
Bishop I. Mukuwanda ZHOCD Chairperson (Zimbabwe Council of Churches);
Bishop M.D. Bhasera (Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference President);
Dr S. Munyeza (Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe President);
Rev Mangwiro (Union for the Development of the Apostolic and Zionist Churches in Zimbabwe Africa President)
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