More than just a wish list 

Source: More than just a wish list | The Sunday Mail

Zanu-PF will roll out a massive economic development programme to immediately address Zimbabwe’s most pressing challenges, including the cash crisis, through implementing pro-poor programmes.

In its 2018 election campaign manifesto, launched last Friday in Harare, the ruling party promises to immediately address liquidity challenges through measures that include stimulation of production and exports, as well as establishing a gold-backed bank.

The pro-development election pitch promises people-oriented programmes.

In a sharp departure from previous election pitches that tended to dwell on the party’s past achievements, the 2018 manifesto is forward-looking and is concerned with economic issues.

The manifesto offers solid insights into programme implementation and funding mechanisms, and is not a wish list of wild promises.

Themed “Unite, Fight Corruption, Develop, Re-Engage and Create Jobs”, the manifesto is a blend of programmes and policies aimed at extricating the country from being and international pariah through rebranding and economic development.

Apart from pledging to turn Zimbabwe into a middle-income economy by 2030, the manifesto promises a sustained annual growth rate of six percent.

The party is also targeting US$5 billion annual FDI inflows and US$10 billion domestic investments.

“The Zanu-PF Government will also implement the following measures to address the major sources of existing liquidity challenges:

“Stimulation of production in order to create capacity to export as clearly articulated throughout the document;

“Effective implementation of frugal public expenditure management policies that the Government started implementing with advantage of the New Dispensation;

“Enhancing foreign currency retention thresholds for exporting firms; International re-engagement that will help unlock access to lines of credit, Diaspora remittances; and Establishing a Gold-backed bank.”

A local currency will only be introduced when macro-economic conditions permit.

The document states that the Zanu-PF Government will grant national project status (NPS) to infrastructure investment projects.

NPS is often applied to projects which have a large capital cost with a large portion of its cost being equipment and services not available in Zimbabwe.

The equipment can be imported duty free.

On social services, Zanu-PF pledges to build one hospital in each administrative district, regularise houses built on unsanctioned land, prosecute land barons and give title deeds to owners.

At least 1,5 million low cost housing units will also be constructed over five years.

In accordance with the Abuja Declaration, according to the manifesto, the Zanu-PF Government will allocate 15 percent of the National Budget to the health sector.

“Access to affordable and quality healthcare remains a priority for the Zanu-PF Government. An overarching goal for the people is improvement of the health delivery system to attain health for all. Accordingly, the Zanu-PF Government will:

“Ensure that Treasury allocates at least 15 percent of the National Budget to the healthcare sector in line with the Abuja Declaration;

“Support operational research by targeting possible solutions to non-communicable diseases; Review the remuneration structure for the medical professionals; Rehabilitate public health infrastructure.”

On ICTs, the manifesto states that a Zanu-PF Government will open up the telecommunications sector to allow more players into the industry.

The Zanu-PF Government according to the document will implement an aggressive farm rationalisation programme and grant secure tenure beneficiaries of the land reform.

The Zimbabwe Land Commission will be capacitated to ensure that it carries out its constitutional mandate.

On re-engagement, the Zanu PF Government will seek to normalise relations with the international community of nations with a view of getting access to long term development finance as well as access lucrative export markets.

“The costs of remaining outside the global economy are too high for the economy, industry and people. In that regard, the Zanu-PF Government will strive to normalise its relations with the international and regional communities, as well as resolve its outstanding international obligations.

‘‘Normalisation of relations will be achieved through pro-active engagement with the United Kingdom, the United States of America, the European Union, and former farm owners, including those that were protected under bilateral investment promotion and protection agreements.

“The Government will also strengthen its bilateral relations with countries such as China, India, South Korea, Russia and Brazil as well as countries in our regional trading blocs, namely Sadc, Ecowas and Comesa.”

Further, ease of doing business reforms will be expanded as a means to attract more investments.

The Zanu-PF Government will re-organise agriculture, expand command agriculture and develop markets for local produce.

The ruling party also pledges to implement five major power development projects that will add 2 500MW to the national grid.

For SMEs, the Zanu-PF Government will review registration and licensing fees; while rural service centres and growth points will be transformed into thriving economic hubs.

The manifesto says financing for these programmes will come from both domestic and external sources.

“The programmes contained in this manifesto will be funded through a combination of domestic resources mobilisation, investments by Zimbabweans in the Diaspora, foreign direct investments, international loans and support from development partners.

“Domestic resource mobilisation strategies will focus on: Leveraging natural resources; Efficiency and effectiveness of National Budgetary allocations; Privatisation and commercialisation of parastatals;

“Strategic partnerships through joint ventures and public private partnerships; Domestic credit supported by domestic savings; and Local private sector participation.”