I am not against use of rand – Mugabe
By Lovemore Ranga Mataire
PRESIDENT MUGABE has said the Ministry of Finance and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe have been somewhat lethargic ensuring that the South African rand or the euro become foremost currencies to be used in the country.
In his traditional annual interview with ZBC to mark his birthday, Mugabe said he was never against the introduction of the rand, as advocated by the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries.
Giving a historical account of how the country ended up with a multi-currency system, Mugabe said the Zimbabwean dollar suffered galloping inflation after the economic sanctions were introduced by the United States and European Union.
“We had that galloping inflation and we thought of giving it up and adopting the US dollar…we are a multi-currency country,” said Mugabe.
On being asked his views on the introduction of the rand as the main currency, Mugabe said: “I don’t know why the Ministry of Finance together with the RBZ would not want to use other currency. I have actually asked again and again that why not have euros, yuan and rand alongside the dollar and they keep on saying we will do it.” Mugabe said although the general economic performance of the country was being hampered by sanctions, the country has managed to strike mega economic deals with China, which are soon to bear fruit.
He said he had managed to hold a discussion with his Chinese counterpart, President Xi Jinping, during his annual vacation in January where he reinforced the need to accelerate the economic programmes.
Mugabe said it was during his meeting with Xi that he highlighted the issue of platinum mining, which was granted to a Chinese company. It was agreed that money accrued from the exploitation of the mineral must be used to pay outstanding debt to the Asian country. He described the economic ties and proposed economic deals as generally good, saying other deals were bilateral and were to be funded from the US$60 billion availed to Africa. “It depends on our capacity not only to absorb the funding but to ensure also that we should repay by way of refunds. The funds are not grants; they are debts, loans that are being extended to us. When we fail to do so then our friends say what’s happening and this has been the case in regards to the Chinese,” Mugabe said.
In early December 2015, China’s President Xi Jinping was in Zimbabwe on a State visit and, with Mugabe, oversaw the signing of co-operation agreements in various economic sectors.
However, a number of factors have hampered the immediate implementation of the mega deals, which Mugabe was to follow up during his meeting with Xi in January in Beijing where the two leaders reaffirmed commitment to strong bilateral relations and the need to expedite the mega deals.