The Parliamentary Committee on Finance and Economic Development has called on Minister of Finance and Economic Development Mthuli Ncube to allow the Zimbabwe Statistical Agency (ZimStat) to proceed with the publication of year on year inflation.
Presenting it’s report to parliament recently, the Committee said it is concerned with inflation projections in the absence of a robust production stimulus. The Committee said while it is very noble to rebase inflation, economic agents between now and February 2020, in the absence of ZimStat figures, citizens and investors will resort to unofficial Year on Year (YOY) inflation figures.
“The Committee recommends ZimStat to continue publishing YOY inflation using the 2009 base and switch to the new base in February 2020 in order to manage inflation perceptions,” said the Committee.
According to the Committee leaving the nation to rely on inflation figures from the likes of the Old Mutual Implied Rate and Prof Steve Hanke may cause alarm and public despondency just like what the black market did to the USD in the absence of a transparent market mechanism.
The call by the committee come at a time, Ncube has been under fire, for banning ZimStat from publishing year on year inflation, market watchers believe the minister should not have smashed the rear view mirror. They say inflation information is a key component upon which industry and commerce make sound economic decisions, and hiding such data is not good for the nation.
Zimbabwe is currently in an inflationary trajectory with prices of basic commodities rising on a daily basis. As of yesterday, the price of a loaf of bread had risen from $4.10 to between $8.30 and $10 respectively.
In a related matter, the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority and fuel dealers are reportedly locked up in an disagreement over the price of fuel. The fuel dealers are saying when the recent fuel price hikes were effected, it didn’t take into account the cost of delivery. And as such they are reportedly withholding the precious liquid, until such transportation costs are factored in, meaning the fuel price is expected to rise again, pushing up the inflation figures that the government is trying to hide.
Meanwhile, in as long as Zimbabwe’s economy has been on the free fall, the government has been down playing and distorting inflation figures, so as to portray a better image. The only reliable information on inflation had been coming from the Old Mutual, as well as renowned world economist Prof Hanke.
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