Zimbabwe economic restructuring signals rebound

AS the country entered a new political dispensation, the electorate inwardly hoped for a new economic dispensation, a dream halfway to becoming a reality.

Clearly the two-year Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP)’s milestones signal an economy on the rebound, as projections are bearing fruit. The TSP has literally laid the foundation for the successor blueprint National Development Strategy (NDS) set to consolidate growth and guarantee attainment of an Upper Middle-Income Economy by 2030, while the TSP has done very well in bringing about macro-fiscal stability and laying a solid foundation for private sector led growth.

Now, Zimbabwe is certainly on a favourable ground to aggressively take off going forward, riding on the successful reforms achieved so far.

On the economic front, over the past two years the Government has scored several milestones including re-introduction and stabilisation of the Zimbabwe dollar, rationalisation of the civil service in order to contain the wage bill, and the recent foreign currency auction system which has seen the local currency appreciate value and stabilising prices of basic goods and commodities.

Generally citizens are more concerned with bread and butter issues, a situation which has been put to bed with the arrest of the runaway foreign exchange through the auction system. Introduction of the local currency, and the Dutch Forex Auction, was significant to strengthen monetary policy to sufficiently support fiscal policy for stabilisation with inflationary pressures, clearly now under check.

Treasury now projected that annual inflation will consistently drop in line with the reduction in the month-on-month inflation from 31,7 percent in June 2020 to around five percent in the last quarter of 2020. The mining sector has seen the US$4,2 billion Great Dyke Investments Platinum Mine being under construction, US$4 billion Karo Resources Mhondoro-Ngezi platinum project ahead of schedule, Arcadia Lithium Mine being developed, while new coal mines were opened.

On infrastructure development, the Government managed to forge ahead with the construction of roads and several dams: The expansion of RGM International Airport, the construction of New Parliament Building, the expansion and modernisation of the Beitbridge Border Post, the recently-completed Marowanyati Dam, Sengwa in Mashonaland Central and Gwayi-Shangani in Matabeleland North Province, as well as construction of district hospitals.

Massive roadworks have seen the rehabilitation of urban and rural roads funded by Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) and District Develpment Fund (DDF), the Harare-Beitbridge highway dualisation, and Karoi-Binga Road under construction, the completion of the Chiredzi-Tanganda Road while the Makuti-Chirundu stretch is also under construction. These dam projects will definitely see a shift from the rain-fed agriculture to irrigation in pursuit of an agro-centric economic growth plan.

In agriculture, the Government has since signed the Global Compensation Deed, while Command Agriculture was replaced with private sector funded Smart Agriculture.

With the Land Audit completed, it has led to farms downsizing with at least 1,8 million farmers trained for Intwasa/Pfumvudza concept.

The health front also saw the building of new health centres, upgrading and renovation of hospitals and other health centres, acquisition and installation of new hospital equipment, recruitment of additional health workers, special allowances for health Covid-19 frontline workers, as the Government continues restructuring the Ministry of Health and Child Care.

Through the TSP, the Government primarily laid the foundation for the country’s Upper Middle-Income Economy, Vision 2030.

In an effort to cushion the civil service workers, the financial sector has tried to promote a saving and wealth creation culture among civil servants by initiating the creation of voluntary savings scheme — Government Employee Mutual Saving Fund (GEMS) to support the workers’ borrowing needs.

Already, the Steering Committee is now in place to operationalise the Fund. Once this GEMS Fund is established, it is going to have positive effects that include the creation of employment and the stimulation of return to proper commercial banking.

The GEMS Fund also comes as a non-monetary benefit to civil servants that seek to address challenges faced by the Government workers.

The Government has also facilitated the alignment of at least 144 laws out of the 183 needing alignment to the Constitution, with efforts underway to balance out the remaining 39. For example the new administration repealed the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), replacing them with the Maintenance of Peace and Order Act and Freedom of Information Act, respectively.

The Government is concluding the repealing of the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act to replace it with an investor friendly law, the Economic Empowerment. At the same time the justice delivery system has seen the separation of judges of the High Court from the Constitutional Court, construction of magistrates courts, construction of Labour Court, establishment of a commercial court, launch of the E-Justice project, and increased skills development in prison facilities to improve reintegration into society.

In short, the TSP which was launched as a reform blueprint aimed at stabilising the economy, attracting investment, re-integrating the country into the global economy and laying a foundation for strong, shared and sustained growth, has since managed to penetrate in all sectors and has enforced key reform initiatives for promoting good governance as well as socio-economic development. – Sunday Mail