Zimbabweans struggle to afford basics

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Many Zimbabweans are finding it increasingly difficult to live in a country where widespread cash shortages, high unemployment and delays in public sector salaries continue. As Sonia Legg reports, Zimbabwe’s economy is also flatlining while the budget deficit is ballooning.

Zimbabweans struggle to afford basics

Four out of five workers in Zimbabwe have no job – Musatye Mupanguri is one of them.

He used to be a civil servant.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER CIVIL SERVANT, MUSATYE MUPANGURI SAYING:

“You know simple things like food on the table, is a mammoth task to have. I tell you people are living on one meal, you know what I mean, just one meal per day.”

Zimbabwe used to be the bread basket of Africa.

Now four million people are facing food shortages.

It’s in the grip of its worst drought in a generation.

And cash is running out.

For Zimbabwe’s leaders too.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) ECONOMIC ANALYST, NELSON BANYA, SAYING:

“The government of Zimbabwe is spending up to 97 percent of its revenue on the wage bill that leaves 3 percent for capital projects and investment into infrastructure and other sectors of the economy.”

President Robert Mugabe blames western sanctions, imposed on his government for alleged vote rigging and human rights abuses.

There’ve been no IMF funds since 1999.

SOUNDBITE (English) NELSON BANYA, ECONOMIC ANALYST SAYING;

“The Zimbabwean economy is slowly sliding into recession; the honeymoon that we saw between 2009 and 2012 is over.”

It wasn’t much of a honeymoon anyway.

And anger is growing, with many protests – some becoming violent – being organised via social media.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER CIVIL SERVANT, MUSATYE MUPANGURI SAYING:

“I could see this coming and like I said something has to be done.”

92-year-old Mugabe has promised to slash public spending.

With a budget deficit set to top $1billion this year – six times the initial projection – he has to do something.

Officially the growth forecast is 1.2 percent – but few believe that’ll be the reality.

Tags : Basics, Afford, struggle, Zimbabweans

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