Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube has been castigated for celebrating the success of some of his measures which have allegedly brought suffering to a lot of people.
The Minister introduced what he termed Austerity for Prosperity which only served to make life difficult for the already pressed Zimbabweans.
Among those most affected by austerity measures are civil servants whose salaries were reduced significantly through currency change and introduction of managed exchange rates.
Speaking in the National Assembly, Norton Legislator Temba Mliswa said the government should not lie to itself because people are suffering more because of the policies.
“Mr. Speaker Sir, we seem to think an austerity must make people suffer and when they suffer more we think we are doing well. We cannot be lying to the nation that the rate at which it is right now was not where it is by the time we had austerity measures. What has gone wrong? The Minister of Finance and Economic Development is critical in responding to this.
“We are here saying that the rate has stabilised but how can you say the rate has stabilised when you are not paying people what they are supposed to be paid according to auction rate. Teachers were being paid US$510 and we were being paid US$2 000 plus but when it comes to the auction rate we were not giving that.
“The auction rate determines the buying power of the dollar. So, if you are not being given your US dollar at auction rate, there is no buying power. We cannot be excited by an increment of 255% to the civil servants when inflation is hitting 680% to 700%,” he said.
Mliswa added that “If we are going to ever match the buying power of anybody in this country especially the civil servants, we must also align ourselves to the inflation rate. Madam Speaker, you cannot have an inflation of 700 and at the same time you are saying no, we are doing them a favour we are increasing it to 245. Can you also bear in mind that behind there is also a lot that they have suffered? They have never been value for this money whatever,” he said.
The self-styled legislator said when people borrow money, they are borrowing at US Dollar rate and are expected to pay at that rate and yet people are not being paid using the same rates.
“When you go and borrow money, you are borrowing money at the US dollar, when you pay back it is either the US dollar or bank rate. You have an economy where people are not being paid in US dollars but they are expected to pay in US dollars. You have an economy where people are expected to pay at auction-rate but you are not being paid at the auction rate. So, it is a bubble that is waiting to burst.