Austerity measures still on, ED urges Zimbabweans to tighten belts

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MUTARE – President Emmerson Mnangagwa has urged Zimbabweans to tighten their belts as his government muddles through harsh economic austerity measures.

The World Food Programme reports that more than a third of the rural population in Zimbabwe would be food insecure by October 2019.

Mnangagwa made the remarks at the ground-breaking ceremony of the Sakubva Urban Renewal Project at Sakubva Stadium on Wednesday.

The project is aimed at rebuilding Sakubva high density suburb, which is one of the country’s oldest suburbs into a modern location.

“Yes, the country is facing some challenges right now. It is normal for a country to have problems. But my government has a vision. We are now marching towards that destination,” Mnangagwa said.

But for us to reach that destination, we need to tighten our belts as this transformation will be so painful. But, at the end we are going to achieve what we want as a government. We are going to look at some policies that we think can transform our economy,” he added.

“This is our country. Let’s work hard to transform our economy. Let’s fully utilise our resources and land so that we have more production. It is going to be tough but it is temporal. We shall get there,” Mnangagwa said.

The Zanu PF leader said his government was pursuing difficult economic reforms, including measures to reduce the budget deficit to single digits.

He said violent protests by the masses, the strikes by doctors and endless calls by labour unions for strikes over pay were part of an anti-government plot to derail economic reforms and undermine his rule.

“We had offered the doctors 100 percent increment, among other perks, but they refused. Our security department then told us that the doctors are working with other outside forces, with the aim of paralysing our health sector to create an uprising,” he said.

Hopes that Mnangagwa, who took over from the late former President Robert Mugabe after a coup two years ago can quickly revive the economy which is on the verge of recession, with millions facing hunger, have faded.

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