Saturday, June 30, 2012

Zimbabwe Vice-President Mujuru, ZANU-PF Discuss Economic Challenges

VP Mujuru attacks MDC-T inconsistency

Friday, 29 June 2012 15:41
Herald Reporter

POLICY inconsistency by MDC-T in Government is hampering the development of the national economy, Zanu-PF Vice President and Second Secretary Cde Joice Mujuru, has said.

Addressing delegates at a Zanu-PF economic cluster workshop in Harare yesterday, Cde Mujuru, who was represented by the party’s secretary for administration Cde Diydmus Mutasa, said efforts by Government to ensure industrial rebirth were not progressing because of MDC-T.

The one-day workshop discussed the state of the economy, the party’s departmental programmes and sought to harmonise activities ahead of the forthcoming elections expected this year.

“Being a people centred party we have harnessed our efforts and directed energies towards restoring our national economy to its past heights of growth, sustainability, equitable redistribution of wealth and prosperity for all, but some of our colleagues in Government are pulling in the opposite direction,” she said.

“They exhibit inconsistency and lack of application but we will continue shaking off these challenges.”

Cde Mujuru said the Look East Policy Zanu-PF adopted was beginning to bear fruits as evidenced by the number of Asian countries investing in Zimbabwe.

“This visionary policy has facilitated the rapid recovery of our tobacco sector, which has become the biggest foreign currency earner, as well as the revival of the chrome sector in Kwekwe, among other benefits.

“We shall continue to solidify this relationship and anticipate travelling further in this promising direction as we embark on a programme that will put our economy at par with other African and world giants,” she said.

The workshop was held under the theme: “Defending National Sovereignty and Consolidating Indigenisation and Empowerment: Driving the Zimbabwean Economy to Greater Heights.”

Cde Mujuru described as “just” and “superior” Zanu-PF policies towards the building of the country’s economy.

“We hail the victory of Zimbabwe in the KPCS process, which opened doors for the sale of our diamonds on the world market and created new revenue channels for the national fiscus.

“The victory vindicates justness and superiority of Zanu-PF policies under the gallant leadership of President Mugabe,” she said.

She said the revolutionary party would continue supporting small and medium businesses and the informal sector to facilitate their entry and participation in the mainstream economy.

“We shall continue to champion programmes that bring the economy and its benefits closer to the people like rural wholesales project launched last month in Mt Darwin.”

Zanu-PF secretary for economic affairs, Cde Obert Mpofu, said most companies were struggling for viability hence the need for investors to support them.

“Failure to rescue these companies is a serious indictment on our approaches to economic growth and self-sustenance.

“The sad thing is that there has been massive job losses.

“This downward trend was further compounded by the drying up of lines of credit owing to a number of macro economic reasons and also sanctions,” he said.

Zanu-PF, Cde Mpofu said, was worried by lack of capacity by Treasury to pay reasonable salaries to civil servants.

“I hope this workshop will come up with suggestions, which can be presented for consideration in view of bettering conditions of service for civil servants,” he said.

Cde Saviour Kasukuwere, the Zanu-PF secretary for indigenisation and economic empowerment urged party members to participate in the empowerment drive.

The event was attended by Politburo members, provincial chairpersons, national executive members of the women and youth assemblies and war veterans.

EDITORIAL COMMENT: MTP’s poor showing must galvanise us into action

Friday, 29 June 2012 16:20
Zimbabwe Herald

Zimbabwe’s economy continues to face challenges that need decisive action as reflected by its failure to meet the majority of targets set under the Medium Term Plan.

Minister of Economic Planning and Investment Promotion Tapiwa Mashakada painted a gloomy picture on the performance by MTP over the past year and its outlook as he appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Budget and Finance on Tuesday.

Of course the outcome was to be expected to some extent, given the liquidity challenges, particularly, that have handicapped most efforts to develop key sectors and the economy at large.

Revenue inflows have underperformed while external funding has not been forthcoming as had been anticipated when the US$9 billion economic blue-print was launched in March last year.

Furthermore, the lag between implementation of policy and realisation of results may also be of effect in this instance.

The MTP is meant to guide economic growth up to 2015, with national budgets and other policy documents expected to be in sync with its objectives, which include macro-economic stability, restoration of the economy’s capacity to produce goods and services competitively and the development of key energy, transport and water infrastructure.

Under MTP an annual economic growth rate of 7 percent is projected while maintaining single digit inflation, among other targets.
This is meant to empower the majority and reduce poverty.

While significant progress has been noted over the past three years in terms of real economic growth, the recovery path has been punctuated by dips that have compromised results.

Thus the optimism that welcomed the MTP launch has fizzled out demanding a reality check that should put everything into perspective and map the way forward.

However, the poor showing by MTP so far should not usurp energy from the economy but should induce greater resolve by all stakeholders to bring the programme back on track.

The impediments along the way should just be viewed as temporary setbacks that should not leave a permanent mark on the road to growth.

Many countries in Africa and beyond have commended the MTP as a sound document with potential to transform Zimbabwe’s economy while impacting on the overall regional economic landscape.

It is widely viewed as a not overly ambitious project which means its targets and objectives are within reach, everything being equal.

But as stated earlier Zimbabwe’s current liquidity crunch and inadequate support from external lending institutions have put paid to many initiatives to foster growth.

Zimbabwe has evidently been let down by some of its peers who had pledged support but we cannot continue to sulk as a country.
Bold steps will need to be taken to find home-grown solutions to end the funding challenges. The country is replete with financial brains that can come up with solutions to bridge the funding gap.

The revenue side has naturally failed to perform because of depressed economic activity but efforts should be directed towards the reduction of imports that continue to gobble a large chunk of funds while informal sector activities should be brought on stream as sources of funding. Billions of dollars are believed to be circulating within this sector.

Furthermore, the economy needs to maximise on such factors of production as the highly skilled labour force and the availability of resources such as minerals to increase capacity while attracting foreign direct investment.

Policy consistency will have to be practised while the disharmony that seems to be carrying the day in the inclusive Government needs to be checked to ensure all energy is expended on finding ways and means to better the livelihoods of all Zimbabweans.

The Medium Term Fiscal policy review is scheduled within the next fortnight to take stock of the economy. We can almost guess that the Minister of Finance Mr Tendai Biti will largely be lamenting the current state of affairs.

His plate is full already with the issues besetting the economy but what is required at this juncture are more solution-driven efforts to ensure the economy performs well for the remainder of the year and into the future.

Economic Planning and Investment Promotion Permanent Secretary Dr Desire Sibanda announced recently that working groups have been set up to audit the MTP and hence the economy.

We hope they will get to the bottom of the issues while proffering solutions as regards the course the economy should take.
Infrastructure in terms of power generation, road, rail and air transport, water and sanitation among others, needs urgent attention because these are economic enablers.

The multi-currency regime, consolidated under the Short Term Emergency Recovery Programme (STERP), will need to be strengthened further to stabilise the economy.
These efforts should yield the results that we need to promote sustainable economic growth.

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