By Enyichukwu Enemanna
Many Zimbabweans have expressed dissatisfaction with the award of “Best African Finance Minister of the Year” bagged by the country’s Minister of Finance, Mthuli Ncube.
They believe the award is not deserving as the country faces multi-faceted economic turmoil, arising from high unemployment rate, inflation and forex instability.
According to Reuters news agency, up to 80% of transactions are carried out in US dollars because of a lack of confidence in Zimbabwe’s local currency.
Economists say the country’s unemployment rate is as high as 85%.
Reputation Poll International, an organisation which says it “manages reputations” gave Mr. Ncube the award on Sunday.
The minister, who was appointed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in 2018, told the state-controlled Herald newspaper that he was delighted to receive the honour.
He said it was recognition of the work he and the Treasury team had done that has “spearheaded the transformation of the economy”.
However, an user on X, formerly known as Twitter, said the award was “akin to applauding a captain for steering a ship straight into an iceberg”.
Another user called it “the greatest joke of the decade”.
Similarly, an activist, Hopewell Chin’ono said on X that the award was an “insult” to Zimbabweans.
He expressed disgust especially after Mr Ncube’s recent budget, which he described as “the most anti-people national budget that Zimbabwe has ever had”.
The budget will see an increase in taxes, and hike passport fees to $200 (£160), up from $120, making it the most expensive in the region.
Mr Chin’ono added that Mr Ncube was “presiding over the worst economy in the world” brought about by his “misguided and corrupt policies”.
Zimbabwe’s economy has been struggling for decades. The Zimbabwe dollar was withdrawn in 2009 after inflation reached a staggering 231 million per cent, meaning prices were changing by the hour.
Critics blame mismanagement by the ruling Zanu-PF party, first under Robert Mugabe and then Mr Mnangagwa.