Zimbabwe not only looking East: Mnangagwa

President Emmerson Mnangagwa

CHEGUTU – President Emmerson Mnangagwa says Zimbabwe is not just looking East but open for investors from all parts of the world.

Addressing thousands of Zanu PF supporters at Pfupajena Stadium in Chegutu this afternoon, President Mnangagwa said his government has opened the country to all potential investors in areas of agricultural mechanisation, energy, mining, communication and social services, among others.

“For the past two decades, we have been under illegal sanctions and since the dawn of the new dispensation, we are opening Zimbabwe for business. So we are saying we will always be grateful to those who stood with us during the difficult times and then open the economy to everyone. Fortunately we are being accepted worldwide, we have investors, not only from the East, but from everywhere, the Middle East and even America,” he said, adding that politics should take the back seat as economics assume the front seat.

The President projected the economy to grow to 5 percent by year end in light of a US$16 billion commitment from investors.

He added that the transformation drive will in the next 12 years create a middle class economy with a gross domestic product capable of having a per capita income of up to $3500.

Cde Mnangagwa also outlined his vision for an economy driven by a vibrant and productive agricultural sector.

On that note, he said firstly, the on-going land audit will see some farms being repossessed while others will be downsized to benefit mostly the youths.

Secondly, a massive agricultural mechanisation programme is on the cards to ensure productivity in the sector.

“If you don’t have resources, you will just look at your farm helplessly. So as the government we will ensure mechanisation of agricultural activities and training of agriculture extension officers. We have sourced tractors from India. They are not for free, but our farmers would pay for them in installments. We have also sourced irrigation centre pivots from Spain and the target is to put at least 350 000 hectares of land under irrigation,” said Cde Mnangagwa.

He said the government has set aside $487 million for agricultural activities under the Presidential input scheme next season.

On the energy sector, the President said $1 billion will be availed for the Hwange Thermal Power Station generator unit 7 and 8 expansion project.

On industrial activities, Cde Mnangagwa says Chegutu’s David Whitehead is still not functional, together with many other industries mostly in Bulawayo, adding that the aim of the government is not only to revive these industries, but to create new ones.

The President also spoke about the country’s mining sector, saying although Mashonaland West has the longest part of the Great Dyke with lots of minerals, no province in the country is poor and what is needed is to unite and explore all investment opportunities for the benefit of the entire economy.

He added that it is unfair to call small gold miners ‘makorokoza,’ and that a bill to formalise and decriminalise their work is still in parliament so that they do not play hide and seek with the police.

He urged the small miners to unite and apply for mining machinery from the government so that they become more productive.

“You must however sell your gold to Fidelity Printers and Refineries. I know there are issues around payments that but as the government, we are working on improving the payment mechanisms for gold deliveries,” he said.

On the rally, President Mnangagwa expressed happiness at the high turnout at the rally, adding that Zanu PF will definitely win the July 30 harmonised elections.

He said Zimbabweans must give a new mandate to all ruling party candidates so that they correct the mess created by MDC-run councils. – zbc