Dr Zack Murerwa
THE Second Republic is on track on the economic front with the economy now on a positive trajectory despite the setbacks caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The following positive developments are for all to see and do not need an economic eye to dissect:
◆ We now have a stable monetary policy system and framework which has culminated in an acceptable and fair market driven exchange rate. Since its inception the Foreign Exchange System has operated well and simply needs perfection to maximise operational efficiency.
◆ An expected agricultural bumper harvest will anchor Zimbabwe’s economic revival. Positively, the bumper output will come from multiple crops such as maize, tobacco, small grains and horticulture.
Zimbabwe this year is expected to harvest 2,4 million to 2,8 million tonnes of maize alone, thanks to a successful agricultural input and support programme as well as the good rains. With an estimated annual maize domestic consumption rate of 1, 4 million to 1,5 million tonnes there will be excess for roll over to subsequent years and export.
Throughout the country, there is a pleasant rise in production of soyabean, sweet potatoes and sunflowers. More, however, needs to be done in milk and beef production to meet the current domestic demand.
◆ There has been an increase in manufacturing capacity utilisation, as recently confirmed by the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries. The interest shown in starting new ventures and value chains in the manufacturing sector is indicative of the good guidance and manifestation of NDS1 objectives.
The aforementioned expected good agricultural output should provide the much needed input to industry. Zimbabwe is an agro-based economy and assuming the necessary policy framework becomes consistent and supportive; confidence and security will prevail amongst producers.
◆ Zimbabwe has developed a successful tertiary and higher education sector, which has seen an increase in both quantitative and qualitative approaches by our institutions of higher learning.
The last 12 months have witnessed remarkable research and achievements by institutions such as the University of Zimbabwe, the Harare Institute of Technology, Bindura University of Science and Technology and National University of Science and Technology, just to mention a few. These interventions will see ourselves achieving the desired human capital base. Of interest is the shift and preference to local institutions by Zimbabweans due to Covid-19 restrictions by international institutions.
◆ Another positive development has been the start of an infrastructure development programme which has seen work on the Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu highway, successful completion and rehabilitation of major dams (and they are filling up) as well as noticeable power projects in Hwange, Kariba and small stations.
◆ The rolling out of a promising Devolution programme and the necessary financial support provided for in the 2020/2021 National Budget means we are on the right track. This will see local Government projects that are relevant and necessary for the improved well-being of the local communities.
◆ The Second Republic is on track in terms of the Vision 2030 implementation matrix. The vision is no longer a dream but a reality and there is no reason why we should not join other upper middle income countries such as South Africa, Ghana, Cameroon, Egypt and Nigeria Hope, determination, resilience, peace and tranquillity will take us there.
◆ A serious approach by Government to the dictates of Good Governance is now discernible. This is an important pillar and a National Priority Area in the NDS1 blueprint.
We have seen necessary interventions in national structures and operations to weed out corruption and inculcate a culture of transparency, fairness and accountability. Corruption is a cost rider to the fiscus and a disease that must be promptly cured.
◆ The growth of the mining sector and the practical rollout programme of a $12 billion mining industry is encouraging. New investments in Shamva, Great Dyke, Hwange, Kadoma to mention a few, all give hope that Vision 2030 is attainable. The key deliverables of enhanced exploration, value addition, increased exports and production to earn foreign currency are all fully operational and by 2023 we should achieve the $12 billion mining industry.
◆ The successful launch of the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (ZIDA) will lead to the long overdue operationalisation of a One Stop Shop investment centre for Zimbabwe. ZIDA is now fully functional and will be a conduit for the much needed investments in Zimbabwe
However, let us be realistic to the obstacles we face and these include non-performance and poor governance by some parastatals. We have close to 90 State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) and the nation’s expectation is that they should contribute about 30 percent to 35 percent of the country’s GDP, a figure that was once achieved in 1985.
It would be unfair to paint all enterprises with the same brush but since these are public enterprises it would be for everyone’s benefit to commend achievements made to date by enterprises such as National Oil Infrastructure Company, TelOne, Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, Tobacco Research Board, Zimpapers and the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board to mention a few. Innovation and good governance is all we need in our parastatals.
We also have witnessed poor and uncoordinated local authorities with deteriorating infrastructure in terms of roads, clinics and bridges.
In the majority of cases, it’s not about funding but the major cause is lack of transformational, innovative and accountable leadership
The World Bank and IMF have predicted a positive growth rate of our economy; by 4, 3 percent in 2021, while our Government has projected growth at seven percent. These are world class growth standards that are not easy to achieve.
Productivity, productivity, productivity is what we now need. Well done Second Republic!!!!
Dr Zack Murerwa is an economist, strategist and consultant. He can be contacted on email@example.com