Mthuli Ncube’s appointment came with a mix of outright optimism, cautious optimism, and some just think the same old may prevail. His appointment gave Zimbabwe the chance to have certain key reforms within its economy.
The important question now is that will he develop a thick skin to withstand undue political influence from the executive? This is something that Finance ministers in Zimbabwe have had to deal with over the years. At times, they have brilliant ideas on how to curb unnecessary government profligacy but they face resistance from the executive.
This was the situation with Patrick Chinamasa. He had to face the populist approach of Robert Mugabe, neglecting the realistic approach to governance. Chinamasa was against the issue of handing civil servants bonus payments, but Mugabe simply said they would get their bonuses and it was so.
Eddie Cross has warned if Ncube will be able to grow a thick skin and resist government’s insatiable urge for unnecessary spending.
“It (fiscal deficit) has been running at $300 million per month and that is not sustainable. That could lead to the printing of money and by end of this year, if we are not going to do anything, we are back into hyperinflation,” he said, as quoted by NewsDay.
“To address the fiscal deficit, we have to look at increasing revenue, which means higher taxes. I think the new minister must dictate to the Cabinet what he is going to do.”
It’s to be seen whether Mthuli Ncube will be able to withstand such pressure. Because some of our problems can be solved by reducing government expenditure really.
Exchange control is not working. We are taking productive assets from our exporters to non-productive areas. You can’t ignore the market. I don’t think Ncube will do that. He is a clever guy. He is one of the clever minds in the world. We could be lucky to have him,” Cross said.
There’s so much for Ncube in store.