From TSP to NDS, Zimbabwe enters economic growth mode

Prof Mthuli Ncube

AS the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP) comes to the end of its lifespan in December this year, authorities have started preparing ahead of time by crafting the National Development Strategy (NDS) as the successor policy.

The TSP was fulfilled through imposing austerity measures but under the forthcoming NDS, whose implementation is expected to run from 2021 to 2025, the worst is expected to be over and the country firmly positioned for a new economic trajectory.

Many will not forget the tough, but necessary austerity measures under TSP, which Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube described as analogous to taking bitter medicine to heal a sickly economy.

But just like the Israelites’ journey from Egypt to Canaan, Zimbabweans can now dream of better days owing to the exciting development trajectory that NDS offers, especially as it is underpinned by the revolutionary devolution programme.

Analysts say the adoption of the NDS, which is principally anchored on devolution, is a game-changer that should provide fresh impetus for Zimbabwe’s vision to be an upper-middle-income economy by 2030.

Some of the successes of the TSP include stabilisation of the exchange rate after the introduction of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe auction system, the achievement of surpluses instead of deficits as well as cutting of the public wage bill from 68,9 percent of total expenditure in 2017 to 50 percent by 2020.

Under NDS, some of the specified goals are to achieve full economic recovery from the negative socio-economic effects of Covid-19, transform the economy and move it up the value chain, ensure nutrition and food security, rehabilitation and development of infrastructure as well as promotion of investment.

Furthermore, the NDS seeks to build climate resilience and mitigation, enhance national unity and social cohesion, eradicate poverty and promote sustainable livelihoods of the poor, women, youth and vulnerable groups of society.

Other objectives of the NDS blueprint are to strengthen institutions and systems of governance, improve the country’s image and standing, regionally and internationally, and ultimately improving the quality of life of citizens.

Market analyst Mr Collen Mharadzano said Government’s adoption of devolution as the major foundation of the NDS would propel the economy into the much-awaited growth mode.

“The NDS gives momentum to the devolution agenda which has seen the decentralisation of multi-faceted developmental programmes ranging from infrastructural rehabilitation programmes to the critical minuscule household economic activities,” said Mr Mharadzano.

“The devolution agenda entails democratisation of political and socio-economic issues as decisions for developmental activities are deliberately made by the people at the lower echelons of society. The advantage to implementing such a novelty is the increase of ownership of programmes by the local people which in itself incentivises them in their execution.”

Political analyst, Mr Obert Gutu said devolution would transform the country’s socio-economic situation by allowing Zimbabwe to make the most out of its God-given resources.

“Development should be localised first and foremost before you can spread it elsewhere. Natural resources found in a particular region should be utilised to benefit the local communities first in order to drive the agenda of broad-based national development. As it is said, there is nothing for us without us,” said Mr Gutu.

“The national development strategy should be anchored on holistic and accelerated devolution if it is going to succeed. We have got so many natural resources in Zimbabwe that it is a total shame and embarrassment for us to be this poor. Devolution should be a game-changer as Zimbabwe strives to attain an upper middle-income economy status by the year 2030.”

He, however, said there were retrogressive Zimbabweans who were predisposed to forestall all Government ambitions.

“There are certain elements in this country who only see doom and gloom in whatever Government does or plans to do. We are a deeply polarised nation. Some among us literally ululate when the economy is under distress,” said Mr Gutu.

Political analyst and LEAD president Mrs Linda Masarira-Kaingidze said the NDS had all the potential to succeed.

“Devolution, economic recovery from Covid-19 impacts, nutrition and food security has been our agenda since imposition of the lockdown. The NDS is a good initiative which is in line with the LEAD ideology just like the outgoing TSP,” said Mrs Masarira-Kaingidze.

“We need to have these programmes monitored and evaluated in real-time. The NDS is the way to go for Zimbabwe. We need the political and intellectual will to ensure timeous and correct procedural implementation of the strategy.”

In his remarks during a meeting with Ministers of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda said in crafting NDS, input would be sought from all the country’s 10 provinces.

“Your inputs will also ensure the devolution agenda, whose implementation you superintend is mainstreamed into the blueprint.

“It is against this backdrop that Government has set out to develop a five-year medium-term strategy, the National Development Strategy (NDS1): 2021-2025 as a key step towards the realisation of Vision 2030,” said Dr Sibanda.

NDS will incorporate the other major components of Integrated Results-Based Management (IRBM) system namely: Programme Based Budgeting (PBB), Personal Performance Systems (PPS), Monitoring and Evaluation (M and E), and Management Information Systems (MIS).

The Thematic Working Group on Devolution is expected to hold consultations soon as they had been awaiting the devolution and decentralisation policy to be approved by Cabinet.

But just like the Israelites’ journey from Egypt to Canaan, Zimbabweans can now dream of better days owing to the exciting development trajectory that NDS offers, especially as it is underpinned by the revolutionary devolution programme.