Zimbabwe says poised for economic transformation

A RAFT of practical measures that have been introduced by President Mnangagwa since his first term substantive inauguration in 2018 have brought stability to the country with economic transformation under his rule now inevitable, analysts said.

Yesterday marked the second year since President Mnangagwa was inaugurated and thus far he has been walking the talk to entrench democracy, engage and re-engage with all nations, end endemic corruption and above all put economic transformation first to ensure the country achieves Vision 2030 to become a middle class economy, analysts said.

And notwithstanding efforts from the country’s detractors to manipulate the markets through illicit economic activities that even involve listed companies, the scourge of the Covid-19 pandemic as well as the albatross of illegal sanctions, Zimbabwe is on course to become a middle-income economy anchored on mining, tourism and agriculture, the analysts added.

In pursuit of Vision 2030, agriculture, tourism and mining are expected to contribute towards the realisation of a US$25 billion economy by 2025.

Just yesterday, the President launched a US$8,2 billion Agriculture Recovery and Livestock Growth Strategy that came a few months after he launched a US$5 billion Tourism Strategy in Victoria Falls.

The Mining Industry Strategy is expected to contribute US$12 billion, with signs on the ground showing that this could be achieved well before 2025.

As a means of stabilising the economy, the Second Republic put in place a raft of economic revival measures such as the introduction of the Reserve Bank Foreign Exchange Auction System, which has, since inception in June, helped build business confidence, improve access to foreign currency and dealt with the black market which was being used by some businesses to manipulate the economy.

Reflecting on the recent Monetary Policy Statement, Mr Eddie Cross, a former opposition party official, said the price stability being experienced will ultimately result in the reduction of inflation.

“It is said that prices adjust upwards rapidly but are ‘sticky’ downwards. Even so the reduction in inflation month on month in July and expected in August signals that by the end of the year we should be back into single digit inflation month on month and that 2021 will see a resumption of low inflation and steady prices and exchange rates. My own view is that we need a weak currency and I would not be in favour of allowing the exchange rate to strengthen too much,” said Mr Cross.

In just three years, President Mnangagwa has indeed shown his mettle as a pragmatic leader by implementing a raft of reforms that have resulted in less Government expenditure with the country’s exports and foreign currency earnings jumping by 17 percent. Imports decreased by 6 percent and thus strengthened the balance of payment.

Political analyst, Mr Bright Matonga, said in just two years, President Mnangagwa has shown his resolve to fight corruption and has walked the talk by sacking two Cabinet ministers who were fingered in corruption among other senior Government officials, some of whom are serving time.

“There has been a lot in terms of benefits or gains since August 2018. President Mnangagwa’s Government inherited a country with a budget deficit of 40 percent, which is unbelievable. We were spending more than we were generating, which impacted negatively on our finances. A country like Greece, when they had a crisis they had a budget deficit of about 12.5 percent but they managed to get foreign investment in US$325 billion dollars, Zimbabwe got nothing. We then had to restructure our economy, introducing the 2 percent tax from all the transactions that were above a certain threshold on the mobile banking platform. This has generated enough cash to fund salaries, and to fund infrastructural developments, we see road constructions taking place, the infrastructure is being built using local funds, on the Harare-Beitbridge highway. We didn’t borrow anything. Because of sanctions we cannot access credit. It was a free-fall, but now there are systems where the Government is living within its means. So in terms of financial discipline, that is a massive gain,” said Mr Matonga.

Indeed, the President has led from the front by closely monitoring various infrastructural and industrial development projects around the country and ensuring their implementation.

Just recently, he toured the Hwange area where power projects that are underway will see the country generating in excess of 6 900MW of power by 2023, something that will leave plenty for exports.

Tied to that, the availability of power will ensure confidence in investors, especially in the Special Economic Zones (SEZ) that are being set up in various parts of the country.

In just two years, the New Dispensation has managed to attract a number of investors in the mining sector, investors who are set to contribute towards the industry becoming a US$12 billion economy by 2023.

The mining category includes, the US$4.2 billion Great Dyke Investment (GDI) platinum project in Mashonaland West and the US$4.2 billion Karo Resources platinum mine project in Mhondoro-Ngezi,

Such projects are set to employ thousands of people both directly and indirectly through downstream industries when fully operational.

“I think the President has done his best to achieve the goals he set for himself in August 2018. On the economic front a lot has been achieved but the adjustments made have been extremely painful for the general population. As the Minister of Finance has said, it should improve from now on although the process will be slow. Our biggest problem remains our international isolation. Where we have made progress (amendments to AIPPA and other restrictive legislation) these changes have not received the recognition they deserve,” said Mr Cross.

Politically, a number of reforms have been implemented to entrench democracy, enhance free speech and also access to information.

Controversial laws such as the Public Order and Security Act and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) have been repealed and replaced by progressive legislations that enhance the enjoyment of people’s freedoms.

In an interview, political analyst Mr Obert Gutu said President Mnangagwa has performed well against odds as he has tackled corruption and restored hope among Zimbabweans.

“The Second Republic has tried very hard to break with the old order but it hasn’t been easy at all. The dark shadow of the old order is still lingering over every decent effort that is being made by the Second Republic to normalise the economy and fully implement far-reaching political, socio-economic and electoral reforms. There is still a very long way to go before the national economy is rebooted. The fight against corruption is welcome but still there are powerful forces that are apparently undermining President Mnangagwa’s vision 2030 mantra that is designed on building an upper middle income economy where democracy is entrenched and socio-economic development is enhanced, otherwise we are heading in the right direction,” said Mr Gutu.

Another political analyst Mr Collen Mharadzano said the President has been ticking the boxes as he has been able to achieve so much, yet in a very short space of time.

As a hands-on leader, the President has been at the forefront of implementing Government programmes, which include roads rehabilitation works and has also opened discussion on the emotive Gukurahundi issue.

Under President Mnangagwa’s leadership, areas such as Matabeleland are receiving priority with special economic zones being set up in areas like Binga in line with devolution, which seeks to empower provinces.

The President has also opened his doors to dialogue with all political players, churches and civic rights organisations. – Herald