By Admore Marambanyika
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has said the recent proposed measures to stabilise the exchange rate and the macro-economy were a futile attempt towards finding a holistic remedy to the challenges faced by workers and the citizenry.
In a statement; ZCTU said it was deeply disappointed by the measures announced by the Minister of Finance Prof Mthuli Ncube as they would not improve the welfare of workers and Zimbabweans in general.
“The new measures, instead of solving the economic crisis that the country faces, fail to find solutions to the crisis and high price of goods and services amongst a host of issues affecting workers and the general public. Measures such as 100% retention of domestic foreign currency earnings, adoption of all external loans by treasury, enhanced foreign exchange auction system and even lifting of all restrictions on importation of basic goods is a nullity to a worker who is being paid in RTGS,” said Japhet Moyo, ZCTU Secretary General.
He said the measures were a far cry from workers’ expectations in the current volatile economic environment.
“There is nothing for the working poor who is chocking under the yoke of high prices and low wages. Measures such as gold and digital coins are mere elitist deals to loot from the poor. How many workers can afford to buy the so called gold coins or digital coins? To date, efforts by authorities to bring the unstable macroeconomic environment under control have not been effective. Most of the measures have been hastily implemented without adequate dialogue and consultations of all key stakeholders and partners. The economic environment continues to be characterised by high levels of volatility as evidenced by the fast-depreciating Zimbabwean dollar as well as the incessant price increases in Zimbabwean dollar,” he said.
Moyo said labour was worried about the continued payment of salaries in ZWL at a tie the economy had self-dollarised with most key government agents charging for their services in foreign currency.
“While the economy has effectively dollarized in terms of expenditures (with more than 70% of total spending being denominated in USD), most workers continue to earn their incomes in Zimbabwean dollars. There has been a massive erosion of real incomes with the workers being disproportionately affected while the proportion of the working poor has increased markedly,” he said.
He bemoaned lack of consultation and genuine social dialogue on critical issues affecting the country adding that it was the basis of policies and measures that are divorced from reality and the people’s aspirations.
“The biggest challenge with reforms in Zimbabwe is that they are being implemented top down and this has plunged the economy into the abysm in the first place, implying the trust and confidence deficit will continue to haunt the process. The populace has been hurt and suffered as a result of the wrong-headed policies that resulted in loss of value of our currency in the past and now, fiscal indiscipline, run- away inflation and corruption,” he said.