via Economic Planning to push Zim-Asset goals | The Herald February 6, 2015
The Ministry of Economic Planning will set the ground for developing a long term economic plan which also includes processes to resolve strategy incoherences and policy inconsistencies that limit economic growth.
Presenting at the annual Mandel/Gibs Economic Outlook Symposium held in Harare yesterday, Economic Planning Minister Simon Khaya Moyo said his ministry was tasked with providing technical input for the development of a national vision for the country anchored on the Zim-Asset economic blueprint.
He said the ministry would also co-ordinate the formulation of line ministries five-year strategic plans as well as superintend the activities of Zimbabwe Statistical Agency, Zimbabwe Economic Policy Analysis and Research Unit as well as the State Enterprise Restructuring Agency.
“The task of the Ministry of Economic Planning is a mammoth one but one which is however, not insurmountable.
“In that respect I directed my staff to conduct a study of economic planning ministries around the world in order to give sound input into how to carry out this mandate in the Zimbabwean setting.
“The idea is to ensure that we come up with an economic plan, charting a national path into the next 30-50 years owned by all of us and our stakeholders internationally.”
Minister Moyo emphasised the need for economic planning saying that it created a better life for the target population.
“A fact about an economy is that it exists, whether you plan for it or you don’t — the only difference being that it behaves in an unpredictable manner if you don’t plan or you have one that meets your goals if you plan for certain outcomes to occur.”
Speaking at the same event, Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha said that Cabinet had approved recommendations to address the competitiveness problems of industry through the National Competitiveness Commission.
The recommendations followed a directive by Cabinet to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce to investigate cost drivers that eroded competitiveness in the country.
Preliminary research done by an inter-ministerial committee on the issue identified labour, power, water, finance, transport and logistics, tariffs, trade taxes and taxation as the leading reasons for the collapse of industry.
As such, Cabinet approved labour reforms to introduce efficiencies in the economy and measures to enhance productivity at the firm level.
Cabinet also approved a downward adjustment of salaries in parastatals and local authorities to reduce wage pressures.
It was agreed in Cabinet that there was need to lower power tariffs for industrial production and that licensed independent power producers utilise their licences or lose them.
On water, Cabinet said that water treatment chemicals should be bought in bulk by a single national authority on behalf of the Zimbabwe National Water Authority and that fixed water charges by local authorities should be reviewed downward in line with the region.
In the same vein, it was agreed that entities that discharge effluent into water bodies be punished severely and that rehabilitation of infrastructure for treating effluent be prioritised.
To address the high cost of finance Cabinet agreed to set up a Credit Rating Bureau to counter multiple borrowings and that measures be adopted to plug currency leakages.
On transport and logistics, Cabinet directed that the rehabilitation of the National Railways of Zimbabwe infrastructure be prioritised for efficiency and effective operation.
Further, Cabinet also recommended that traffic enforcement agents reduce roadblocks as these had become a huge non-tariff barrier, hence high costs and delays while action had to be taken to improve turnaround time at the country’s borders posts.
Cabinet also directed that Zimbabwe engages neighbouring countries to establish a single window system to address the issue of taxation, levies and fees charged by each country.
To address environmental issues Cabinet approved that the Environmental Management Authority charges be reviewed in line with the regional standards and to be cognisant of the country’s level of development and desire to promote investment.
Cross-cutting recommendations were also approved which included action against corruption, decentralisation of Government services, open tender system and that steps be taken to ensure that the one-stop-shop investment centre was made fully operational.