All set for drought: Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube

FINANCE and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube has assured the international community that the drought situation in the country is under control as the Government is putting in place measures such as importing grain to avert its effects.

According to ZBC News, Prof Ncube was speaking on Bloomberg TV on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland yesterday.

He said the Government was importing food from the Atlantic, South Africa, Zambia and Tanzania while also receiving support from the international community to ensure that every household has sufficient food. 

“Contracts have been signed, are being signed, we are shipping maize from the Atlantic, we are ready and we are working at importing food.

“Zimbabwe is well drilled when it comes to dealing with droughts such as this, we have had several droughts since independence so we have a team that is very focused, they understand logistics, ships are delivering in Beira and then we move it up by rail and trucks up to Zimbabwe,” Prof Ncube was quoted as saying.

At present, Zimbabwe is facing food shortages due to the drought experienced last cropping season and the effects of Cyclone Idai which ravaged parts of the country in March last year.

Minister Ncube explained that the Government was shifting its budget towards financing agriculture and implementing climate mitigating measures such as investing in irrigation and growing drought resistant crops.

Prof Ncube highlighted that the Government subsidy on mealie meal will allow the vulnerable to access mealie meal.

On currency reforms, Minister Ncube said Government will introduce higher denominations of the local currency during the course of 2020 to make it easier for the transacting public.

Prof Ncube however emphasised the need to be cautious to avoid fuelling inflation and at the same time promoting and encouraging the use of electronic transactions.

He said the international community should appreciate that Government was walking the talk since it has managed to rein in inflation which fell from over 17 percent to 16,6 percent in December 2019.

“Inflation is coming down slowly but of course year on year inflation remains high but that is expected, that is what happens when you liberalise a currency and it’s trying to find its equilibrium, it is trying to find its footing, we believe its stabilising, it has been quite stable actually,” said Prof Ncube.

The World Economic Forum underway in Davos, Switzerland, ends tomorrow. — ZBC News/Bloomberg.

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