Friday, October 25, 2013

Zimbabwe to Benefit From 10,000 COMESA Tractors

Zim to benefit from 10 000 Comesa tractors

October 25, 2013
Paidamoyo Chipunza
Herald Reporter

ZIMBABWE is set to benefit from over 10 000 tractors to be availed by the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa to member-states under a US$550 million credit facility.

Speaking after meeting President Mugabe at State House in Harare yesterday, Comesa secretary-general Dr Sindiso Ngwenya said they would start by procuring 2 000 of the tractors.

He said going forward, over 10 000 tractors, planters and other farming equipment as well as agricultural inputs such as fertilisers would be procured between 2014 and 2017.

Dr Ngwenya said more details of the facility were to be discussed with Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Dr Joseph Made.

He said funding for agricultural equipment and inputs under the programme could be increased to US$1 billion.

“We have started modestly with a US$550 million facility.

“It is not big but when we look at what we get from that, it can, within a period of two years, move an economy to greater levels of production,” said Dr Ngwenya.

He said he briefed the President on other Comesa programmes that had been put in place to support Zimbabwe.

“We are most grateful that His Excellency gave us audience to brief him on where we are with the Comesa integration arrangement and also to get his wisdom on how we can move the social, political and economic agenda,” said Dr Ngwenya.

He said other key issues besides agriculture discussed with President Mugabe included industrialisation, infrastructure and online trading.

“Without us addressing all these pillars simultaneously, we will not be creating a market for ourselves that creates jobs, where Comesa becomes a zone for prosperity.

“This is what the Comesa Treaty provides for,” he said.

On infrastructure, Dr Ngwenga said without reliable and efficient infrastructure, a country could not achieve effectiveness not only in terms of goods, but also in moving people from one point to the other.

He said Comesa had an infrastructure fund managed by the Comesa Bank. Dr Ngwenya said ministers of finance within Comesa would be meeting in Malawi between November 28 and 29 to consider infrastructure bonds.

He said he indicated to the President that letters of invitation to attend the 2013 Comesa summit would be sent out soon by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, the Comesa chair.

Dr Ngwenya said the host of the conference, President Joseph Kabila of DRC, will also send out invitations to President Mugabe.
The conference will take place in Kinshasa between 14 and 15 December this year and will run under the theme: “Consolidating intra-Comesa trade and investment through micro, medium and small enterprises”.

Dr Ngwenya has been attending the ZimTrade Exporters Conference in Harare.
Minister Made confirmed having met with Dr Ngwenga to discuss technical issues of the facility.

He said Dr Ngwenya would meet Finance Minister Cde Patrick Chinamasa to deliberate on financial matters of the facility.

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