The Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) has claimed that the gross domestic product (GDP) growth projections by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Professor Mthuli Ncube are farfetched considering deep discord in the country’s economic achievements so far.
The leading business group speaks after the Finance minister had indicated in his 2021 budget last year that the country’s economy was expected to grow by 7.4 % after a projected 4.1 percent contraction this year.
Mthuli Ncube’s GDP growth projections say the economy’s turnaround will be driven by a strong recovery in agriculture, mining, electricity, construction, transport, and communication as well as finance and insurance.
But ZNCC’s brief 2021 economic outlook said the target was too high also considering that the country is still grappling with the coronavirus pandemic. ZNCC said:
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) forecasts in the last budget can only be a mirage. We will be thankful to the Almighty if we are to post even a +0.5% growth for 2021, with a negative 6%-9% being our forecast before the economy moves out of the hole in the second half of 2022.
ZNCC urged the government to adopt smart and targeted Covid-19 containment measures allowing businesses to operate during the pandemic as continuous and strict lockdowns were threatening the mere existence of some companies, mainly small to medium enterprises.
The business member organisation added that the gloomy outlook, “the most pessimistic in 12 years may be explained by the fact that 25% of SMEs believe they won’t come back to normalcy after the pandemic.”
Meanwhile, President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Monday reviewed lockdown measures to allow businesses to operate albeit observing the World Health Organisation (WHO) protocols.