Source: Economy on growth path: President | The Herald April 19, 2017
Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter —
Government has registered remarkable development in various sectors of the economy and is implementing several policies to consolidate the gains of independence, President Mugabe said yesterday.
The policy interventions cut across all sectors are aimed at stimulating the economy, which is already on a robust recovery path buoyed by a successful agricultural season.
In his speech addressing a capacity crowd to mark the country’s 37th Independence Day celebrations at the National Sports Stadium in Harare yesterday, President Mugabe outlined several measures that Government was undertaking to revive the economy.
He said the liberation struggle was not in vain as it brought about independence.
“But the assignment is not yet complete. It’s still incumbent upon us all to translate into true meaning that freedom, sovereignty and independence,” said President Mugabe.
“As Government, we should continue to pursue development programmes and socio-economic policies that consolidate our true Independence. Thus, Government has since Independence, put in place a number of programmes that are targeted at the transformation, sustenance and revitalisation of our country’s economy. Through the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim-Asset), our country’s economic blueprint since 2013, we aspire to achieve self-determination and economic growth.
“The agricultural intervention programme we embarked upon in 2016 is another case in point. It is a broad-based programme that seeks to transform our economy. It is two-tiered: Command Agriculture, which targets farmers who have irrigation facilities and the Presidential Input Support Programme, which subsidises inputs for our small-scale and peasant farmers, so they could speedily recover from the 2015-2016 drought which had crippled them.
“So the agriculture sector is now going to grow by the projected figure of 12 percent.”
President Mugabe, however, bemoaned the destruction that was caused by the heavy rains in some parts of the country where some lost their lives.
With regards to manufacturing and mining, the President said Government was working on a number of measures to ensure that those sectors contributed significantly to the national economy.
“The mining sector remains crucial to the Zimbabwe economy, with the sector contributing more than 50 percent of exports and 16 percent to the country’s 2016 Gross Domestic Product (GDP),” said President Mugabe.
“There is a lot of work which is going on in that sector, not least the reorganisation whose completion we impatiently await. Going forward, much is expected from this important sector. It must play its part towards this overall development vision we have.
“I am happy our small-scale producers are working hard, and selling their output lawfully, through designated national channels.
“With respect to the manufacturing sector, Government continues to implement specific policy measures such as the management of imports, investment approvals, fiscal incentives and the Buy Zimbabwe Campaign Initiative, with a view to spur industrial development, and refocus the productive sectors of the economy towards value addition and export orientation. These efforts have resulted in an increase in the manufacturing sector capacity utilisation from 34, 3 percent recorded in 2015 to 47, 4 per cent in 2016.”
Further, President Mugabe said tourism and small and medium enterprises were also playing a key role in the revival of the economy.
In tourism, President Mugabe said, Government’s new thrust was to have direct community participation managing and development of diverse products and services they hosted and produce in their localities.
Said the President: “We all should be pleased that since January 2016, the country achieved a 15-month period without load shedding. Power supplies, which as we all know, have a strong bearing on the performance of industry, have recently become stable due to a number of factors. These include the improved generation from local power plants and imports from ESKOM of South Africa and Hydro Cahora Basa (HCB) of Mozambique.
“To further increase and stabilise electricity generation, several other projects are being pursued in the short to medium term. Among them are the Kariba South Expansion Project, now at 78 percent complete, and is set to have units commissioned in December 2017.
“In the health sector, Government has made great strides in improving the health of the nation. Recently, the Ministry (Health and Child Care) procured new medical equipment which should see our hospitals offering better services that are much closer to the people.
“The special equipment ranges from dialysis machines, Computerised Tomography (CT) scan machines and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machines for both Central and Provincial Hospitals.
“The Mpilo Radiotherapy Centre for cancer will soon be operational and this will help relieve the pressure on Parirenyatwa Hospital.”
President Mugabe said the dualisation of Beitbridge-Harare highway, which links several countries in the Sadc region was also set to start soon and would create numerous employment opportunities for locals.
In the education sector, the President said Government was implementing the new curriculum with a skills and competence-driven menu from which learners could identify their areas of strength.
As the country marked 37 years of self rule, President Mugabe urged Zimbabweans to remain united as the enemy was on the prowl looking for an opportunity to cause instability.
The celebrations were also attended by the country’s two Vice Presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko, Cabinet Ministers, diplomats, service chiefs and scores of people from different walks of life.
This year’s Uhuru was themed; “Zimbabwe @37: Embracing Ease of Doing Business for Socio-Economic Development.