LEADING economist Eddie Cross has quit his role as a member of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) less than two years into the role.
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The former Cold Storage Commission general manager confirmed his resignation this week but did not disclose why he had opted out during the most critical time for the RBZ, which has battled to stem an inflationary rage in the past two years and bring stability to the financial services sector.
But banking sector sources said this week the former legislator had recently complained about fatigue and frustration at the central bank.
The sources said there have been attempts at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to gag the outspoken economist, who is known for speaking his mind.
“Yes I resigned from the MPC,” Cross said this week.
“But I would rather not say more than that,” he added.
The MPC was established in September 2019 following many years of absence after Zimbabwe adopted a multicurrency system in 2009 to stabilise the economy in the aftermath of the downturn between 2007 and 2008, which knocked off the domestic currency.
RBZ governor, John Mangudya chairs the MPC.
Cross’s frank analysis and disclosures of what would be taking place at the central bank has triggered concern within the government and at the RBZ.
For instance, he revealed in 2019 that a new currency was to be introduced, even before the RBZ was ready to announce the development.
This prompted Information ministry secretary Nick Mangwana to issue a statement denying the claims.
“We would like to make it clear that Mr E Cross does not speak for the Government of Zimbabwe,” said Mangwana at the time.
“Neither does he speak for the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. His views are personal and not indicative of the government’s policy thrust,” Mangwana said.
After the fallout, Cross would also reveal that the RBZ was introducing a ZW$50, ZW$100 and ZW$200 banknotes to increase physical money supply from ZW$1,4 billion to about ZW$3 billion.
“Some time ago, we made a decision in the MPC to introduce new ZW$200, ZW$100 and ZW$$50 notes,” Cross said.
“I understand that this is being dealt with by the governor working with the President because the President has to approve the designs and everything else…But I understand that the ZW$50 note will be available early in the New Year,” he said.
Mangudya later denied that the central bank would print the ZW$100 and ZW$200 notes amid fears by the market that this would stoke inflation.
Cross recently told an Alpha Media online forum, The Big Debate that the RBZ was printing ZW$1 billion (US$12,05 million) weekly, mainly to buy gold.