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‘Brace for more hardships in 2015’

PEOPLE in Mashonaland West have expressed mixed feelings over the prospects that the new year brings, with the majority saying the future looks bleak, mainly because of unemployment and the attendant misery brought about by a contracting economy.

BY NUNURAI JENA

There are some though, who are optimistic that the economy will rebound. They base their hopes on the belief that the rulers of this country would change attitudes and realise the need and find means of reviving industry.

Others like Obert Karinga, a civil servant from Chikonohono high-density suburb are more worried about the immediate needs — he is disappointed after failing to receive the 13th cheque.

Government decided to stagger the payment of bonuses to civil servants because the national purse is empty.

To compound this misery, government failed to pay its workers on time. Karinga said the staggering of bonuses was an indicator of worse things ahead.

“If the situation was that bad as we closed 2014 to the extent of failing to get bonuses, chances are high that government will fail to pay us salaries come 2015,” he said.

Businessman Abisha Karonga said 2015 was likely to be worse than last year as the cost of producing goods continued to rise with overheads remaining high.

But farmer Kenny Nyakotye was optimistic that the country’s economy would improve this year.

Nyakotye pins his hopes on agriculture. He predicted that Zimbabwe was likely to record a bumper harvest given the current good rains.

“Industries have failed us and the only way out for this economic quagmire is agriculture which does not require a lot of money,” said Nyakotye.

Agriculture used to be the mainstay of the economy until the late 1990s when Zimbabwe embarked on a chaotic land reform programme. The economy then started crumbling due to various other factors including hyperinflation and internal political conflicts.

Nyakotye said officials in the ruling Zanu PF who were preoccupied with fighting over trivial issues, were this time expected to focus on reviving the economy.

His views were echoed by Karonga who bemoaned the lack of harmony among stakeholders in tackling the economy.

According to Finance Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, the economy was this year expected to grow by more than 3%.

Although various sectors of the economy were struggling to stay above water due to lack of capital and other issues, some Chinhoyi residents said the country should re-introduce its own currency.

They believe that it was improper to use foreign currency. The recently introduced bonded coins which have the same value as the United States cents were released onto the money market two weeks ago.

Despite these challenges some Chinhoyi residents still hope for the best in 2015. They said government should tackle corruption, implement relevant policies to attract foreign investors and engage both the West and East in order to create a conducive environment for economic growth this year.

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