Government will prioritise youths and women empowerment by capacitating their banks and the National Venture Fund for them to play a bigger role in funding small businesses, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube said on Friday.
Prof Ncube said this while presenting the 2021 Pre-Budget Strategy Paper that basically outlines the fiscal strategy that will guide wider consultations on the upcoming 2021 National Budget.
The 2021 Budget Strategy Paper marks the transition from the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP), which is coming to an end this December, paving way for the longer term National Development Strategy (2021-2025).
The NDS is expected to drive the country into upper middle-income status and Prof Ncube said no stone will be left unturned in finding measures to support the youths and women.
The 2021 Budget Strategy Paper is themed “Building Resilience and Economic Recovery Post Covid-19”.
“Youths and women will be primary empowerment and job creation targets in as much as they are the majority who make an important contribution as productive workers, entrepreneurs, consumers, and agents of change.
“The country stands to realise demographic dividend by harnessing the youthful populace to productive use through inclusive growth. In that regard, the 2021 Budget will further support and broaden the Youth Employment Tax Incentive (YETI), as well as capacitating empowerment institutions such as the Women and Development Bank, Zimbabwe Women Microfinance Bank, Community Development Fund, Empowerment Bank and SMEs institutions,” he said.
Responding to questions from people who followed the proceedings on Zoom, Prof Ncube said the Youth Bank would be capitalised, though without disclosing any figures.
He, however, discouraged the bank from establishing branches, which he said was expensive to maintain, but encouraged it to create synergies with POSB among other financial institutions that had a wide network of branches nationwide.
“National Venture Fund is coming in 2021. It will fund the national youths fund where they can go and borrow money, that I would want to call equity to develop their businesses,” he said.
Prof Ncube said there was need for the employment of psychologists to assist school leavers in strengthening their minds to develop plans to start businesses.
Prof Ncube said Government recognised the importance of building the necessary environment, infrastructure and relationships for developing youths, sport, arts, recreation and diversity of culture.
“Research is integral in this strategy and a revolving fund to stimulate these activities will be prioritised under the 2021 Budget.
“The fund will cater for skills training and digitalisation to ensure high performance products and services,” he said.
Zimbabwe is endowed with vast natural resources in the form of minerals, flora and fauna which are contributing to the national output through mainly mining and tourism activities.
However, the country has not been deriving the optimal returns to significantly change the lives of the people of Zimbabwe from such activities.
“Therefore, the thrust of the 2021 National Budget is to increase exploitation of our natural resources and adding value in order to improve livelihoods. Mining will be a leading sector in sustaining high and shared growth. This will be anchored on the US$12 billion mining industry target by 2023.”
He said the attainment of the target will entail increased investment in the exploration, extraction, value addition and beneficiation across all minerals.
“Government is launching the 2021 Budget Strategy Paper (BSP) in line with the New Dispensation’s commitment of ensuring broader stakeholder involvement in policy formulation processes, that way generating effective public participation in policy and programmes implementation.
“Accordingly, the 2021 Budget Strategy Paper (BSP) constitutes a valuable tool, meant to guide consultative discussions and sharing of ideas on national priority policies, programmes and projects for the forthcoming 2021 National Budget,” said Minister Ncube.
“Under the theme ‘Building Resilience and Economic Recovery Post Covid-19’ the Budget Strategy Paper focusses on strengthening the economy to withstand any potential climatic (drought, cyclones, floods, pests) and macroeconomic shocks, as we focus on attaining inclusive and sustainable growth towards Vision 2030,” he added.