Source: No Christmas holiday for Ministers – Sunday News December 10, 2017
Kuda Bwititi, Harare Bureau
CABINET ministers are putting in extra hours every day to meet targets set by President Emmerson Mnangagwa as a new work ethic takes root in Government.
Most ministers have cancelled 2017 festive season travel and have awakened their respective teams to the imperative of delivering key outcomes.
President Mnangagwa is himself spending much time at work, and he spent the greater part of Saturday at Munhumutapa Building, the seat of Government.
The approach is in keeping with his vision to turnaround Zimbabwe’s economy and improve livelihoods within the shortest possible time. President Mnangagwa has tasked every minister to come up with at least three target-driven economic projects with a 100-day turnaround period. The project proposals are due this week.
Cabinet chief whip Mr Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, who is Minister State for Presidential Affairs and Monitoring of Government Programmes, will superintend project implementation. Ministers who spoke to our Harare Bureau confirmed shelving their annual vacation in favour of working towards economic transformation.
Information Communication Technology and Cyber Security Minister Supa Mandiwanzira said, “We have resolved that we are going to be working like we are on steroids in our ministry. We have a number of key projects that we believe we can push for implementation in line with the target.
“Our quest, as a ministry, is to focus on projects that will change people’s lives for the better. Top of the priority list is the need to expand network coverage to enhance people’s communication. We are also looking at rapid implementation of tower construction projects and enhanced infrastructure-sharing.”
Minister Mandiwanzira said his ministry wants to help deal with cash shortages via platforms for digital payments and mobile money transactions.
“You will understand that mobile money payments are the in-thing these days and it is the only plausible solution to cash shortages. Therefore, immediate network expansion will have a positive impact on digital payments and mobile money, particularly for people in rural areas. We are also looking at enhancing internet connectivity by deploying fibre optic cables in constituencies across the nation. Every household must have internet access through fibre optic cables that are connected to it.
“Fibre does not only bring bandwidth for Internet, it also allows for many products to ride on the infrastructure that includes e-entertain, e-education and e-health that will lead to accessing of Government services directly from your home. In addition, we are looking at fast-tracking implementation of community information centres.”
Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando said his immediate priority was enhancing production, reopening mines and job-creation.
“We are geared towards working hard, as a ministry, to achieve our goals in line with our vision. There is need to increase mining production for employment. Mining has to contribute to creation of jobs. There is also need for mining to increase its contribution to the national balance sheet through exports while also attracting capital. Mining production should increase so that the country gets additional foreign currency and the national fiscus gets increased revenue. The immediate priority is to enhance investor-confidence, with the objective of attracting capital. This will be done in order to increase capacity utilisation in current mining operations and secondly, for new production.”
Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Mike Bimha added: “Our targets as a ministry have not changed, but now we are focusing on performance so that we deliver results in line with the President’s vision. We are also setting priorities so that we focus on achieving quick results for the identified priority areas.”
Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister Dr Joram Gumbo said his ministry was prioritising the Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu Highway project.
“We are making significant progress and I will advise Cabinet (this week) on what we have achieved,” he said.