Monday, January 19, 2009

Alleged Zim bid to adopt rand
January 19 2009 at 06:45AMBy
Fiona Forde and Special Correspondent
A dubious document purporting to be the handiwork of the Zimbabwean Reserve Bank governor strongly recommends the adoption of the rand to help recover their failed economy - though Gideon Gono denies all knowledge of the hefty report.Experts are of the opinion, however, that if the document is authentic, and if its recommendations were to be implemented, it could be disastrous for the South African economy.The 105-page report, which outlines reforms needed to stave off total economic collapse, says "it is imperative that the economy informally adopts the rand alongside the Zim dollar", following in the footsteps of Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland, which already have "formal bi-monetary" arrangements in place with SA.The so-called recovery plan also lists ways in which the country could become self-sufficient - not having to rely on the international community or a coalition government with the Movement for Democratic Change.It identifies the country's rich resources of diamonds, gold, platinum, iron ore and chrome as key sources of revenue that would permit Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to go it alone.Almost 3-billion tons of platinum was lying in the country's Great Dyke region, while "gross revenues from diamond mining can exceed US$1,2-billion per month", the report says.If properly managed, royalties would go a long way in earning the US$350-million the report estimates is required each month to keep Zimbabwe afloat.It begs the question, however, why pressure has not already been placed on such lucrative resources and commodities in these dire times.Gono has dissociated himself from the so-called plan, saying the "Zimbabwean dollar will not be overtaken by any other currency, formally or otherwise, now or at any point in the future".The governor also said he had not been tasked to draft a recovery plan.However, the MDC insists otherwise."What soldier would admit his work if he is caught in action?" asked the party's secretary-general, Tendai Biti, who claimed the document was leaked to him on Friday, a day after it came into the possession of The Star."It's an example of how they work and it reflects the inner thinking of those who are running the state," Biti said."And it would pass on Zimbabwe's inflation to South Africa."Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's stalled power-sharing agreement could be heading for total collapse today when President Kgalema Motlanthe hosts talks between President Robert Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.Both Mugabe and Tsvangirai vowed that they would not back down from positions that have prevented a government of national unity being formed.This article was originally published on page 3 of The Star on January 19, 2009

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