The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected that the Zimbabwean economy will this year contract by 10,4%, much higher than its earlier prediction of 7,4%.
The international financial institution also expects the annual inflation rate to close the year at 495% and predicts an economic rebound of 4,6% in 2021.
In in its new World Economic Outlook titled A Long and Difficult Ascent released during the current Annual Spring Meetings in the United States, the Bretton Woods institution said:
In 2019 Zimbabwe authorities introduced the Real-Time Gross Settlement dollar, later renamed the Zimbabwe dollar, and are in the process of re-denominating their national accounts statistics. Current data are subject to revision.
This comes as Zimbabwe’s statistics agency, Zimstat has reported that the country’s year on year continued on a downward trend in September.
Zimbabwe’s Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Professor Mthuli Ncube has however dismissed IMF’s projections as mere opinion.
He, however, admitted that the country was in the negative, like “all the economies around the world” citing the coronavirus pandemic as the causal factor.
In response to questions by Zimbabwe Independent at a cabinet event on Wednesday, Ncube suggested that a recent “assessment shows that the situation is not as bad as initially thought.” He added:
We had projected a growth of -4,5%. Our teams are busy on the ground again trying to further analyse that growth.
We also have our own numbers. We have got our own batch of statistics — we have got the central bank and Treasury who look after these numbers. These numbers are not imposed on countries by the way. It’s an opinion by just one institution out there, albeit, an important institution.
He added that there were other institutions which were also providing varying statistics which suggests that there is no projection which is 100 percent accurate.
Zimbabwe’s economy has been on a downward trajectory for the past 24 months following the government’s adoption of austerity measures which were meant to kickstart the economy.