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Zim shutdown much ado about nothing - economist

Jul 07 2016 06:30
Malcom Sharara

HARARE - The ongoing #ZimShutDown2016 is much about ado about nothing as far as the economy is concerned, a leading economist has said.

Speaking to Fin24 on Wednesday, economist John Robertson said the Zimbabwean economy has long been dead and Wednesday's stayaway will not make much of a difference.

More than 110 people were arrested in Zimbabwe on Wednesday during a nationwide shut-down that the authorities later said was a "flop", according to reports by the state Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.

Seventy-five people were arrested in Bulawayo, 19 in Harare and 17 in Victoria Falls, ZBC said in separate reports.

THE LATEST: Darkness hung over Harare's central business district after Pick n Pay, OK Zimbabwe, Chicken Inn and Nando's outlets close ahead of closing time.

Robertson, a strong critic of government's polices and known for his straight talk, said Wednesday will pass just like another Sunday, a day where people do not go to work.

"There isn't much work being done in the factories anyway, so this will not make much of a difference," he said.

While industry might not see significant impact, the same cannot be said about retailers and wholesalers who are usually full to capacity on a normal day.

READ: Zim taps SIM cards in WhatsApp clampdown

Meikles company secretary Thabani Mpofu, whose company runs Pick n Pay stores, said although they are still compiling reports from across the country, most of their stores were not operating at full throttle.

"Some of our employees have faced difficulties in coming to work so we are not operating at full throttle.

"Our branch in Chipinge has however been closed for the day," he added.

A banker with CBZ, Zimbabwe's biggest bank with strong links with government, said there was no pressure from bosses for employees to come to work.

"Our bosses have adopted a safety first approach so each individual is free to assess his or her situation. While some of CBZ's branches are closed, the ones that are open are operating on skeleton staff.

"Meanwhile the government, through the Secretary for Health and Child Care, has since advised striking healthy workers that their June salaries will now be paid earlier than planned.

"Further to our earlier communication where we advised that the June 2016 salaries for Health workers would be paid on 14 July 2016, please be advised that Treasury has informed us that salaries for Health workers for the month of June 2016 will now be paid on 8 July 2016."


The empty streets of Harare on Wednesday reveals the success of the business stay away by Zimbabweans. (Photos: Malcom Sharara)



WATCH: Shocking police brutality during Zim protests

pick n pay  |  zimbabwe  |  zimbabwe protests


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