via Call for monitoring and planning commission for Zim Asset | The Herald November 8, 2013
AN independent national monitoring and implementation commission and mobilisation of adequate funding should be established to support Government’s new economic blueprint, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation, if set targets and objectives are to be achieved, analysts have said.
A National Planning Commission is one of the special units in the Office of the President and Cabinet that was announced along with the unveiling of the Team Zanu-PF Cabinet recently, though its membership was still to be unveiled.
Zim Asset, Government’s new macro-economic policy that will guide economic development programmes over the next five years until December 2018, is ready for implementation after its endorsement by Cabinet.
The 129-page policy document, which is set to be launched soon, was crafted with emphasis on an empowered society and growing economy.
It was drafted by Government with input from the private sector and other stakeholders and borrows from the winning Zanu-PF manifesto, President Mugabe’s inauguration speech, and the legislative agenda he set for the First Session of the Eighth Parliament.
The blueprint also derives from previous national development programmes.
Analysts said the commission was key for effective implementation of the new medium-term blueprint at a time when the economy was experiencing mild recession against the backdrop of tightening liquidity, worsening current account and trade deficit.
During the planning period, the economy is projected to grow by an average of 7,3 percent over the tenure of the policy.
This year, growth is projected at 3,4 percent, rising to 6,1 percent in 2014 and continuing exponentially to 9,9 percent by 2018.
Considering the fact Zimbabwe has never been short of brilliant economic policies, the general feeling is that to avoid the debilitating effects of inadequate implementation, an independent commission will be critical to oversee full implementation.
An independent planning commission reporting directly to the Office of the President and Cabinet will be key for immediate alarm to be raised once lack of progress and challenges are noted to ensure timely interventions are undertaken.
With crunching liquidity constraints pervading the entire economy after years of battering from the West’s illegal sanctions regime, funding will also be a major factor in determining the extent to which the policy will achieve targets and objectives.
Government’s most recent economic plan under the defunct inclusive Government, the Medium Term Plan, failed to achieve set targets largely due to lack of funding to support programmes espoused in the blueprint.
A summary of sectors that require funding includes infrastructure (US$14,2 billion), US$5 billion for the mining sector, US$2 billion for the manufacturing sector, US$2 billion annually for the agricultural sector, clearance of debt overhang of US$11 billion and US$1,5 billion to bridge current account deficit.
The numbers add up to US$34 billion, excluding other pressing issues such as electricity and food imports.
Analysts said it was important for Government leverage its mineral resources to raise funds from friendly countries.
They noted Zimbabwe cannot adequately raise money through taxes of foreign direct investment, especially in the medium term, considering that foreign direct investments have not yielded positive results in other African countries.
“The goals are very clear, but the instruments to achieve the objectives are silent,” economist Mr Gift Mugano said.
“It is talking of boosting exports, but we don’t know how. The Government needs to engage friendly countries as a matter of urgency to mobilise money and at the same time mending relations with the Western countries.”
Economic analyst Mr Terence Mukupe said Government should ensure there was enough liquidity to oil economic activities in all sectors.
“If you look at all the sectors across the whole economy, the issues people are facing are entirely the same. Whatever you are going to come up with you need liquidity,” he said.
“As such, whether you have good policies or good intentions, if there is no (enough) funding everything that you are going to do is doomed to fail.”
Mr Mukupe pointed out that with Zimbabwe under severe sanctions from the West and not able to obtain offshore funding from all institutions wired to the West, Zimbabwe should consider aggressive liquidity mobilisation from domestic sources.
In addition, Mr Mukupe hailed Zim Asset for its focus on ordinary people, saying Government was spot on in taking note that it was ordinary civilians and informal businesses that sustained the economy through its worst spell.
Most economic analysts said Government should enact laws that promote local procurement and banking of export proceeds to improve liquidity in the economy.
The analysts also emphasised the need to deal with corruption, bureaucracy and bigotry to ensure full implementation of the anchor policy for economic growth.
Other analysts suggested the renewal of the social contract to strengthen social dialogue between Government, labour and business during the implementation of the policy.