The recent Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe decision to combine all Bond Notes, Bond Coins and E Cash under the umbrella of “RTGS Dollars”, to set the exchange rate against the US dollar at 2.5:1, and allow it to float, is the most significant economic initiative of the Mnangagwa government.
Finance Secretary Mthuli Ncube presented the new state Budget on November 22, which can only be described as a harsh austerity budget, tempered only by the promise to pay the 13th month pay within the financial year, a big improvement on past years. Some of the austerity is good – cutting wages to ghost state employees.
The preventive arrest of 20 Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions last Thursday was aimed at stopping mass protests at a new 2 per cent tax on all electronic transactions. This state action demonstrated that despite the rhetoric of democratic change, important democratic rights to assemble and to protest are not respected.