HARARE – Zimbabwe has no plans to introduce command economy, Information minister Chris Mushowe has said.
This comes after recent reports indicated that government intends to introduce the Soviet-style model to revitalise the country’s ailing economy and ease cash shortages.
A command or planned economy occurs when the government controls all major aspects of the economy and economic production. In a command economy, it is the government that decides what to produce, how to produce goods and how to distribute goods and services within the economy.
Mushowe, however, said command economies, which were often associated with the political system of Communism, had no place in modern-day societies.
“I am the chief spokesperson for government policy and I never said that neither did government,” he told editors in a meeting on Friday.
“There is no command economy in Zimbabwe. You know we are not a command economy.
“We respect property rights in this country and under that kind of arrangement there would be no respect for property rights. We are not communists,” the government spin doctor said.
A command economy works in contrast to a free market economy. In a free market economy, goods and services are produced by private enterprise with distribution occurring according to market forces.
Market experts said although command economies make it easier to mobilise the resources of a country, the disadvantages outweigh the benefits.
The disadvantage of controlled economies is that the needs of the society are often not fully met, since the market is driven by what the government dictates rather than what people actually want.
As a result, it is common to find thriving black markets in such settings, which people use to get access to any products they need but cannot get through official government channels. Innovation is also frequently stifled in such an economy because regulations may not change quickly enough to take advantage of new ideas.
According to recent media reports a team of experts from President Robert Mugabe’s office were already developing a work plan for the economic programme.
This was after government’s command agriculture is alleged to have performed beyond expectations.
“What we are looking at as government is to have command mining, command health, command education so that we can revive our economy through these models,” Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa was quoted saying.