When Mthuli Ncube became finance minister he bundled together measures aimed at addressing economic challenges into what he titled the TSP. TSP stands for Transitional Stabilization Programme. The TSP was enacted to address 3 major metrics namely, government expenditure, the tax base and engagement with global financial institutions. Ideally, the TSP was put in place to ensure there is disciplined government expenditure, to widen the tax base and to re-engage and enhance existing relationships with global financial institutions. However, the finance minister’s austerity measures have actually worsened the state of the economy. Regardless of that, Mthuli Ncube still insists that the TSP has brought about great outcomes and still is.
The Public Is Heavily Opposed To The TSP
The Zimbabwean economy still continues to free fall with the quality of life plummeting for most Zimbabweans. People are contending with incredibly high levels of unemployment, a weakening local currency (leading to erosion of value for most people’s incomes), hyperinflation, fuel shortages, and power shortages amongst several other predicaments. Virtually all of you are familiar with the Intermediate Money Transfer Tax (IMTT) – infamously known as the 2% tax. This has placed a heavy scourge on people’s electronic transactions – which obviously have become commonplace due to cash shortages.
So in as much as the TSP was meant to somehow stabilize the economy, it really has not but rather worsened its state. Come to think of it our government’s external debt hovers over a steep US$8 billion. Yet in spite of all this, the finance minister maintains that the TSP is and has done great things for our economy. In a bid to drive his insistence he has decided to come up with jingle singing praise about how great the TSP is.
The TSP Jingle
I find it quite interesting that Mthuli Ncube has come up with a TSP jingle now. Evidently this move shows that they are aware that people are not buying into the narrative that the TSP is great. With that said it would not be surprising to hear sentiments by people indicating that this jingle is just an indoctrination or propaganda tool. In a moment I will touch on the contents of the jingle but they are quite far removed from what is obtaining on the ground. The finance minister is hoping to convince Zimbabweans that the TSP is the way to go and it shall bring about economic stability this year.
The jingle talks about how the TSP is bringing about development in terms of debts being cleared, roads being constructed, dams being rehabilitated for power generation, schools being enhanced, cordial relations being fostered with other nations, employment creation, local currency being reborn, economic revival, and workers being paid. It also talks about how the TSP is the government’s bid to bring down prices of food. It also talks about the introduction of ZUPCO as a panacea to steep kombi fares. (This is very ironic because kombi operators hike fares to keep up with fuel price hikes. Whereas the ZUPCO programme is being bankrolled taxpayers’ money. So it really is not something to mention as something being done by the government as a favour to its citizens).
The jingle also mentions about how that farmers are celebrating because they have been given seeds. It also talks about senior citizens getting free access to food and medical treatment. The jingle speaks of how 300 former white farmers have already been compensated. Overall, the jingle talks of how people should have faith in the TSP and that it is bringing about positive outcomes. You can listen to jingle for yourself here on SoundCloud.
Towards the end of last year, the finance minister said, “I will not announce major economic reforms in 2020”. Add that to the fact that he is emphasising that economic prosperity shall be consummated this year due to the TSP we eagerly await to see that materializing. I do, however, feel just like many others that a jingle is not the best approach in trying to convince people to believe in an economic initiative. It should just be apparent for people to see that the TSP is delivering as it should. Otherwise people end up thinking that the jingle is just some form of propaganda tool or social conditioning tool for people to subconsciously buy into a lie.