Economists dispute Zimbabwe’s 9,4% growth rate

Alois Xaba

Zimbabwe’s economic growth rates for the past two years have come under scrutiny from industrialists who say they are not commensurate with what is obtaining on the ground.

Officially, the gross domestic product (GDP) is projected to grow $11,91 billion, a 102% increase since dollarisation in 2009 at $5, 89 billion.

Such growth is expected to be driven by mining, tourism and agriculture, among other sectors.

Last year, the GDP is estimated to have closed at US$10,06 billion.

However, World Bank country economist Nadia Piffaretti differ government projections saying Zimbabwe’s economy was not growing but had rather benefitted from a rebound effect as it was coming of a low base.

Piffaretti said the economy was not yet in a growth mode but had experienced a rebound effect, which was based on outside factors that government had no control over. These outside factors included the multi-currency regime and firming commodity prices.

She said the economy was still vulnerable to shocks as its gross official reserves, including IMF SDRs allocation, were low at $197 million in December, representing 0,3 months of imports. The minimum reserves should at least cover three months.

Industrialist Anthony Mandiwanza said what is prevailing in the country is not growth rate, but is only a recovery rate which will be translated into growth rate later in the decade.

Mandiwanza added that the recovery rates depend on the sectors of the economy under scrutiny as some sectors are not performing while others are doing well.

Economic commentator Keith Guzah said figures of growth rates leave a lot to be desired as several firms are closing operations owing to unavailability of liquidity, hence the need for relevant ministries to come out clear on the growth rates.

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