via 2014 – Behold the miracle economy Sunday, 29 December 2013 by Lincoln Towindo Sunday Mail
On Tuesday the curtain comes down on an eventful 2013 with the country looking forward to better times in the forthcoming year.
Among the highlights that dominated discourse this year were the crafting and subsequent adoption of the country’s first ever home-made
Constitution through the March 16 Constitutional referendum and the July 31 harmonised elections that ushered in a new Zanu-PF Government.
But it was the performance and, indeed, mal-performance, of the country’s economy that dominated much of the second half of the year if the chatter among Zimbabweans is anything to go by.
The local economy was victim to a vicious depression for much of the year as it struggled to heave itself out of the clutches of the combined impact of illegal economic sanctions, plummeting business confidence, a serious liquidity crunch, falling industry competitiveness, and a widening current account deficit.
Furthermore, with all parties in the now-defunct inclusive Government constantly at each other’s throats over interminable political brawls with the elections approaching, the economy took a massive knock as it was left in cruise control.
But with the inclusive Government, elections and the retrogressive contestations that usually tag along with a national vote now out of the way and a new supreme law in place, observers agree that the country’s focus in 2014 should shift from the political and centre solely on engineering an economic revival.
With all the political tumult now out of the way, the year 2014 clearly presents Zimbabwe with an opportunity to sow the seeds of a new economic dispensation.
With such an opportunity having presented itself, it, therefore, came as no surprise when Finance and Economic Development Minister Cde Patrick Chinamasa seized on the looming glimmer of an opportunity.
Presenting the 2014 National Budget in Parliament earlier this month, Minister Chinamasa strode against the grain when he announced the “death” of the “old” economy and the subsequent dawning of a new one.
For the observant, the minister’s announcement signalled the commencement of an epic shift for the country’s economic direction. Minister Chinamasa’s pronouncement in the Budget dovetails with a raft of other economic agenda-setting plans and official declarations that shaped the outlook of the direction the local economic landscape will take not only in 2014 but into the long term.
First, among the policy plans and ideas that will give life to the local economy was the winning Zanu-PF election manifesto. The document put forward fresh and innovative people-centred economic strategies, which, it said, would usher the local economy towards a much-needed growth curve.
Among other things, the manifesto promised to unlock value from the currently idle assets within the Zimbabwe economy in order to augment the US$7,3 billion of assets to be unlocked from the indigenisation of 1 138 foreign-owned companies to capacitate the Industrial Development Bank of Zimbabwe (IDBZ), Agribank and Sedco.
The manifesto promised to “recapitalise and capacitate all sectors of the national economy using value unlocked from idle assets”.
In short, it promised to indigenise, empower, develop and create employment.
But after the manifesto, came President Mugabe’s agenda-setting inauguration address delivered before a packed National Sports Stadium.
He also made remarks pointing to the creation of a “new” economy.
He said Zimbabwe, under the new Zanu-PF Government, will attempt a monumental shift of the local economy from being largely agro-based, turning it into a mineral resource-based one. President Mugabe predicted the reignition of an “economic miracle” going forward.
“We have to raise ourselves by our bootstraps,” he said. “Let me share with you my vision for the future; lay out for you the work that must be done. Foremost, we must always believe in ourselves by turning to our own resources. Luckily, they exist in fair abundance. The mining sector will be the centrepiece of our economic recovery and growth.
“It should generate growth spurts across sectors; reignite that economic miracle which must now happen. The sector has shown enormous potential, but we are far from seeing its optimum.
“We have barely scratched our worth, even in the sense of merely bringing above ground what we already know to be embedded in our rich soils. We need to intensify the exploitation of existing deposits.”
President Mugabe reiterated, more or less, the same ideas of a new economic direction when he officially opened the First Session of the Eighth Parliament later on in the year.
From then on, it became clear that Zimbabwe was, indeed, doing away with the old economy. The subsequent adoption of the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio Economic Transformation (Zim Asset) later in the year served to further strengthen the case for a new economic agenda for the country.
Zim Asset is a two-stage economic policy blueprint that divides Government departments into four strategic pillars — Food Security and Nutrition; Social Services and Poverty Reduction; Infrastructure and Utilities; and Value Addition and Beneficiation — that are expected to anchor the economy for the five years ending December 2018.
Zim Asset structures Government delivery targets in innovative ways that would witness line ministries join in a synergistic manner under a results-based management system.
Under Zim Asset, Government will over the next five years undertake developmental projects, which include the rehabilitation of economic enabling physical and social infrastructure, the recapitalisation of critical Government institutions, research and policy reform.
Then lastly, was the presentation of the National Budget earlier this month. Looking ahead into 2014, observers agree that the said policy pronouncement should guide the country towards sowing a “new” economy.
It becomes imperative for the success of the Zanu-PF Government to stand guided by the ideas articulated in these policy frameworks as well as the President’s addresses.
With such inspired ideas already on the table, Zimbabwe should brace itself for the launch of a new economy. The new economy is on the horizon and 2014 could be the year it rises on Zimbabwe.