Source: SB Moyo sells reforms at Chatham | The Herald July 13, 2019
Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
Government is committed to economic and political transformation and re-engagement to enable the country achieve its full potential through the exploitation of its abundant natural resources.
This was said by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Sibusiso Busi Moyo while addressing business leaders at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, also known as Chatham House, in London.
Minister Moyo has been in London as part of Government’s drive for re-engagement and to update the international community on various policy reforms Government has embarked on.
“We, as Government, believe in Zimbabwe, and we believe that we can lead the process of transformation that will see our nation reach its full potential,” he said.
“Our advantages are many and obvious: our abundant, fertile soils, our amazing mineral wealth including vast untapped reserves of coal-bed methane gas and highly sought-after strategic minerals such as platinum, lithium and rare-earth minerals; our idyllic climate, our multiple tourist attractions, our well-educated people and, of course, our strategic location in the very heart of Southern Africa.”
Minister Moyo added that Zimbabwe was committed to re-engagement and engagement as seen by his visit to the UK.
“We do not want to be a Government perceived as being at perpetual war with our neighbours. My visit here has only strengthened our commitment to re-engagement. We thus remain committed to economic and political reforms in our nation, and to re-engagement and to mending fences with all those who wish to engage with us,” Minister Moyo said.
He also apprised the audience on the various political, economic and legislative reforms that Government has embarked on.
“Since my visit in April 2018, we have launched our Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP); an ambitious two-year programme anchored on sweeping economic and other reforms, designed to stabilise the economy and to lay a solid base for sustainable economic growth thereafter.
“We are now 10 months into that programme and the results of Government’s ‘austerity-for-prosperity’ measures have (been significant) – most specifically in promoting fiscal consolidation, reduced government expenditure and, unprecedented over the past 20 years or so, sustained primary budget surpluses,” he said.
The envoy noted that the economic reforms had caused suffering to some sections of society but said Government had committed significant amounts of the budgetary surpluses towards cushioning the vulnerable.
He said the economic reforms were being carried out without budgetary support from multi-lateral institutions.
“For all these setbacks, our efforts are being recognised. The World Bank recently upgraded us from a low income, to a middle-income country, making our dream of being an upper middle-income country by 2030 possible.
“In tourism, Lonely Planet designated Zimbabwe as a ‘Must Visit’ destination for 2019, while the Berlin International Tourism Board recognised Zimbabwe as the most sustainable tourist destination. Nespresso has also identified Zimbabwean coffee as the next great discovery,” Minister Moyo added.
He also said Government had abolished the multi-currency regime after realising that the stronger US dollar was dominating the multi-currency basket making Zimbabwe’s products uncompetitive and resulting in company closures.
On the legislative reforms he said tremendous progress has been in crafting laws that enhance personal freedoms and entrench democratic practices.
“We have made significant progress on this constitutional realignment project. It has been said by our critics that progress has been slow, and that is certainly a fair comment. But I am pleased to confirm the following progress: Three separate bills that are meant to repeal AIPPA and bring within constitutional parameters the disseminating of public information, protection of privacy, and that are meant to guarantee press freedom, are currently before Parliament.
“Similarly the amendment of the Public Order Security and Maintenance Act POSA, is underway. We hope that there will be sincere and concerted engagement with these amendments both in Parliament and in public consultations as these are laws that have toxified the relationship between Government and its critics, both in and outside the country,” Minister Moyo said.
“Other key political reforms include the restructuring of the Security Sector, partly by way of implementation of recommendations put forward by the Montlanthe Commission in the wake of post-election violence, further compounded by the January 14 and 15 violence. The process of consultation on this exercise is well-advanced.”
He also said compensation for the victims of the violent incidences was being finalised.
“In parallel with these economic, political and legislative reforms is another process of reforms aimed at addressing Ease of Doing Business constraints in Zimbabwe,” Minister Moyo said.
“A raft of amendments to existing legislation and regulations has already been effected – cutting away red-tape and bureaucracy related to starting and running a business, producing for export and investment more generally. A Bill establishing the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency, ZIDA, a One Stop Investment Shop modelled along the lines of the highly effective Rwanda Development Board, is currently before Parliament and will become law within the coming weeks.”
He also said reengagement with the EU and the US is continuing with the signing of an Economic Partnership Agreement with the EU.
“We have signed an EPA with the EU and, more recently, an interim EPA with the UK – an arrangement which will enable us to continue to trade with the UK under the current EU-specific preferences, even after Brexit.
“We are working to improve trade and investment relations with the United States. The recent launch by the USA of its ‘Prosper Africa’ initiative – heralded by a US-coordinated 20-billion-dollar investment in Mozambique’s natural gas industry underlines Washington’s burgeoning interest in the continent as a market, for sure, but also as a source of strategic minerals and ores, as a source of food and as an increasingly important partner in the fight against terrorism and other global issues,” Minister Moyo said.