Time to drive economic revival

via Time to drive economic revival by Patrice Makova The Standard October 6, 2013

Mugabe’s new cabinet must make a paradigm shift in order to reverse the slowdown of the economy and deliver essential services to the people, analysts have said.

They said the Zanu PF government must swallow its pride and climb down on hardliner and populist policies, which do not augur well for the economic development of the country.

Director of the Labour and Economic Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe (Ledriz), Godfrey Kanyenze said the government should stop mourning over the sanctions and instead put reforms at the centre of its agenda.

He said people were now virtually depressed because of the economic outlook, yet a liberation party [Zanu PF] won elections resoundingly on July 31 on the back of promises to deliver.

“The would-be dragon slayer appears to be falling on his sword. You are saying the enemy is holding us but let’s do away with excuses and take 100% responsibility for our destiny,” Kanyenze said. “We cannot outsource development and make all sorts of excuses for our own failures. None but ourselves will take us forward.”

He said reforms should focus on minerals, governance and the way the country does its business.

Kanyenze said transparency, accountability and ethics were critical if government is to serve the interests of the people.

He said resources of the country needed a transparent mineral framework to ensure that they benefit the majority.

“Rent-seeking, predatory behaviour, state capture and corruption in general must be put to a stop. The government is there to serve the people and not the other way round,” said Kanyenze.

He said given the polarised political environment in the country, there was need for the government to bridge the divide and come up with national ethos that united people.

Kanyenze said through social dialogue, people can share the challenges and mobilise the potential vested in various stakeholders.

He said the country needed to engage the international community to deal with the over US$10,7 billion debt.

The Ledriz director said the country cannot access new lines of credit because of arrears to institutions such as the International Monetary Fund.

Kanyenze said in order for the country to attain developmental state status, it has to effectively meet the basics required by the people such as access to clean water, food, education, health, safe and secure transport, housing, employment and other basic utilities.

“When you do not have these things, in development, this is called a failed state,” he said.

Kanyenze said Zimbabwe cannot compete because of its informalised economy, obsolete plant machinery and dilapidated infrastructure such as the rail and road network.

Development economist Prosper Chitambara said government has to engage key stakeholders, such as business and labour.

He said it was only through social dialogue that government can harness the skills and experience of commerce and industry.

Chitambara said the government committed itself to meeting certain benchmarks after talks with the IMF. These include a staff monitoring programme and enacting a new diamond act to bring transparency in the way revenues are utilised.

“The government has already missed some of the deadlines. It is also not clear if government is committed to staff monitoring,” he said.

University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer, Eldred Masunungure said no business can thrive in an environment that is clouded in uncertainty.

He said the intense talk about elections, before and after the July 31 polls, generated a lot of uncertainty with the economy now dancing to the tune of the politics.

“When the politics is unstable, the ripple effect is seen on the economy. We need to put our politics right and all the other things will follow,” he said.
Masunungure said the indigenisation policy scared many current and prospective investors.

He said there was still uncertainty, lack of coherence and clarity in terms of the direction the country was going.

“These are the ingredients that create the conditions that attract or deter investors. People easily get scared by the wrong language at the wrong time.  Wrong language was prevalent before the collapse of the GNU,” said Masunungure.

But Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) deputy president Davis Nerupiri said high production costs and cheap imports were a major hindrance to the revival of industry.

He said companies were paying high duty on raw materials, yet the same imported products they were competing with attracted low duty.

“Our industries are in intensive care and they need the field to be levelled, in order to compete with imported products,” said Nerupiri.

He said industries were running below capacity because of competition from cheap imported genetically modified agricultural products, such as beans and chickens.

Nerupiri said power cuts of up to eight hours per day had a huge bearing on production costs. He said workers were being paid for doing nothing, while the use of generators significantly increased overheads.

Nerupiri said the country was importing more than it was exporting.

“People have no appetite to export because there is no incentive. There is need for the government to put in place incentives so that companies have the appetite to export,” he said.

The government has since said it will launch a new economic blueprint, the Zimbabwe Programme for Socio-economic Transformation — which is expected to boost Zimbabwe’s economic recovery and growth.

But analysts said the country has produced over 10 of such documents in the past two decades or so, with virtually none of them being implemented. Stakeholders have also not been consulted on the latest document.

Govt must invest in research and development: Hamauswa

Political scientist, Shakespeare Hamauswa said cabinet must be practical, with every member hitting the ground running in order to increase the fortunes of the economy.

He said many companies have now closed shop, with the country now importing products such as shoe polish and match sticks after their manufacturers relocated to South Africa.

“There is need to go on the ground to find out what is happening. This can only be done if there is investment in research and development,” said Hamauswa.
“Without research, the government cannot come up with a viable policy with corrective measures.”

Hamauswa said the government must also swallow its pride and re-engage with western countries which imposed sanctions, in order to attract more serious investors.



  • comment-avatar
    furedi 9 years ago

    So who is going to do the driving. I do not have any faith in the crew that is there at present,it is same as asking a drunk person to drive you home,your chances of getting there are very slim.However we will watch with great interest.

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    joseph 9 years ago

    Fellow citizen watching is not good enough you have capacity to do something and blame yourself thereafter.Dear zimbos you are developing a blaming culture -you can’t stop blaming Mugabe neither can he stop blaming the West so who is better? We should all get involved guys we are the ones who should bring the change we dream of either individually. collectively.

    • comment-avatar
      masvukupete 9 years ago

      How can we not blame Bob and crew. They cry to “rule” the country no matter what. Handiti vakati ndivo voga vanoh=gona kutonga. If we try and voice our concerns we are labelled unpatriotic. We have the fear that if we criticize we may end up 10 feet under. Whether its true or not, but that is our fear. 99% of people on this forum (and any other media forum) use pseudonyms mainly because they do not want to expose themselves either for their own safety or the safety of those varikumusha. There are a few things that our leaders can do that can revive economy. The easiest and fastest will be to improve agricultural production. That will reduce the BOP requirements. Once that is done, the next easiest is to create conditions for FDI. If we can have 3to 4 $ 1 billion dollar/year type companies then we can start seeing a lot of improvement. The value such 4 companies will pay for utilities will be enough to completely revive the power generation within 5-10 years. This will further reduce our import bill. By producing more electricity we can then power public transport thereby reducing our import bill further by cutting doen on fuel imports. We can further reduce the import bill by coal gasification producing our own liquid fuels. The less we import the better will be our economy. Within 20 years we could become a net exporter and there in lies the development. We could even go further and build crude oil refineries (Zambia does it at Indeni) to reduce our import bill.

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    Sekuru Mapenga 9 years ago

    We have a dream team cabinet. They will dream about how things should be but they have neither the ideas nor the commitment to make these things happen. Mugabe should have chosen a more competent team. Actually he should have retired himself too.

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    munzwa 9 years ago

    all very well!!, Blueprint after blueprint! what about the election manifestos?were these not the blueprints of progress given by the various political parties. Why is zanu now writing new blueprints? A national debt of over $10 billion,! i wonder what wealth these politicians have stashed away over the years and now the writer would want us to invest further with the same players!!!!!?

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    magunda 9 years ago

    zimbabwe has the greatest potenntial to boost and revive its ecnomy.Look at the flowing rivers in zimbabwe,but no single river is utilised for irrigation to boost our food security.We can not surely buy maize from zambia gentleman.The responsible minister of agriculture must not sleep at all when water resources available in the is not put to use.The minister must be given a landrover not a benz to go around the country making sure that adquate irrigation schemes are done .The country must avoid unneccessary purchase of food for the. People must be impowered to produce food for the nation and surely our economy will improve.There is no more room for lipservices,lets act.It is now high time to identify potential irrigateble along our ever flowing rivers.Rivers can not give us sanction.Lets use the waters provided to us by God.

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    Macon Pane 9 years ago

    ZANUPF ministers will do nothing unless they have first conspired a scheme that the action or project will somehow have immediate benefit for themselves, and will be money in their pockets… whether through bribes, or investment, or diverting funds.

    That is very much of the problem… self-interest by those who govern… immediate gratification. A government must govern for the future of a nation, but so far in Zim, their concern has been all about “how will I benefit today” and “what’s in it for me”. That’s why the government is broke, and has such a large debt, yet a broken down infrastructure, no industry, and no future.

    They have sunk the beautiful ship, but try to absolve themselves of blame. That’s not governing, that’s piracy… and piracy is very, very ugly.

    The Chinese vultures await to collect the remains.

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    maisokwazo 9 years ago

    Well Zimbabweans, while the world is proud of your resilience and temerity in the face of adversity, pestilence and tribulation and suffering made by man on man I, as I applaud the loud voices of reason resonating from all corners of the world yet the missing link is the direction to which the advice points. You cannot expect a hungry hyena to watch over your calf NEVER, NEVER! The begots are embedded and shrouded in their zealotry and abject snuggery, thievery and thuggerish indignation to and from voices of reason. The only way for now to go is to make them dysfunctional and frustrate them for the betterment of the majority -yes they can be disabled very, very easily.See how the international pressure from just the US had unraveled them and their nerves. Imagine Mugabe being walked out at the UN general assembly and how he embarrassed himself by sleeping throughout the conference only even as he awaken like a demented demon and started his castigatory garbage.Imagine how embarrassing it is to be confined to within 25 miles radius of the UN assembly venue with other leaders being allowed to enjoy the empire city marvels. New York is the world dream city and no one in his right mind would want to miss the marvel with which it was built.
    The fact that SADCC was dupped and belittled and cowered by the mad dog who managed to cheat and cower Mbeki – the coward and all the SADCC and AU miscreants and malcontents who thought they could and would deceive the world by endorsing sham elections but are now leaking their wounds like rabid dogs when their scam was shamed and ridiculed.

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    Mafuta 9 years ago

    Rranslation of crocodile language: Reforms should focus on making the rulership mightier, and wannachi more powerless. Prosperity must be jerked from the people. Government needs to get in the way even more.