‘No need to panic,’ says Mugabe aide amid cash shortage fears

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. (Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, AP)
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. (Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, AP)

Harare - An aide to President Robert Mugabe has said there is no economic crisis in the southern African country following heightened panic-buying in Harare last week.

Industry Minister Mike Bimha has “insisted that the government is still in control of the situation”, adding that the country’s economy was showing signs of recovering, reported The Standard

“I wouldn’t agree that there is an economic meltdown. There are indicators to convince us that our economy is actually recovering in terms of mining, agriculture, manufacturing as well as tourism. We just have to work harder to turn it around,” Bimha was quoted as saying.

He added:  “There are people who want to see the country’s economy deteriorate by claiming, based on unsubstantiated information, that prices will go up, that there is no foreign currency and that there will be shortages”.

He, however, stated that using a currency that was not your own had challenges.

'Imagined' problems

Bimha also maintained that there was "no need to panic" as most of the issues affecting the southern African country were imagined.

President Mugabe last week repeatedly said that some ruling Zanu-PF party officials he likened to “Judas Iscariot wanted to betray him in order to seize power”.

Mugabe said the unnamed associates wanted to use the chaos "to effect regime change".

"There are those who tamper with our currency to trigger inflation. Those people are among us," Mugabe said, speaking in Shona.

"Like Jesus said, that those we eat with are the ones who will sell us out. The Judas Iscariots of our times," Mugabe said. 

According to reports a decade ago, hyperinflation in Zimbabwe wiped out personal savings, left shops empty and made it all but impossible to buy a tank of petrol or daily groceries.

Prices rocket amid panic buying 

Inflation peaked at 500 billion percent before the national currency was abandoned in a favour of the US dollar, and the economy never recovered.

Fears of a repeat of those desperate days have grown in recent weeks in Zimbabwe, and panic-buying has seen prices rocket.

The stockpiling has been driven by a collapse in confidence in the parallel "bond note" currency that was launched by the government nearly a year ago.

Bond notes dispersed by banks and ATMS are in theory worth the same as the US dollar, but consumers worry the currency could be rendered worthless like the old Zimbabwe dollar that was scrapped in 2009.

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