Michael Tome Business Reporter
FINANCE and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube has implored the nation to unite and work together to revive the economy.
Professor Ncube said this on Tuesday night in an interview with CNN’s Richard Quest.
“We must work together. The President (Mnangagwa) has asked for dialogue among everyone so that we can face this together,” said Prof Ncube.
He was referring to the remarks by President Mnangagwa upon arrival from the successful tour of Eurasia that dialogue was key for the country to achieve its objectives.
President Mnangagwa invited leaders of all political parties, religious and civil leaders to set aside their differences and deliberate on measures that can help unite the nation, which unity would catalyse economic transformation.
Currently, the country is polarised on political party lines, with opposition politicians claiming to be working frantically to “throw spanners” in Government’s drive to revive the economy.
Last week, opposition parties and non-governmental organisations organised deadly violence under the guise of protesting the recent fuel price increases.
The protests later turned violent and were punctuated by massive looting of shops, particularly in Bulawayo and Chitungwiza.
Said President Mnangagwa: “What unites us is stronger that what could ever divide us. Let’s begin a national dialogue. Let’s put the economy first. Let’s put the people first.”
Prof Ncube said the country was pressing ahead with plans to reintroduce the local currency so as to take the economy to the next level.
“It is not normal for the country not to have a currency of its own. We need to change course; that’s what we are trying to do and it’s not easy,” said Prof Ncube.
He added that the Second Republic, led by President Mnangagwa, has lined up several reforms to mark a clear departure from the previous regime of former President Robert Mugabe, in a bid to clearly indicate that the country is open for business.
“This (new administration) is about progress, about the future, it is about reforms; (and) reforms are never easy. We are facing forward; it’s not about maintaining the status quo, it’s about moving away from the status quo and that’s not going to be easy,” he said.
Prof Ncube said the shut-down of the internet during the deadly demonstrations was not in any way indicative of the country’s thrust going forward.
He said blocking the internet was a ‘temporary’ tactic to ‘manage insurrection or managing information and dissemination among protesters’.
Government has a duty to protect the victims of violence and it has used several means to do that and internet shut-down was just part of it, it was temporary.”