Zimbabwe’s Mnangagwa sets out new legislative agenda to spur economic growth

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa addressing legislators in Parliament

HARARE – Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Thursday set out the legislative agenda for the Third Session of the Ninth Parliament of Zimbabwe, which mainly focuses on further driving economic growth.

In his virtual address to the joint sitting of both the National Assembly and Senate, Mnangagwa exhorted Parliament to expedite some of the Bills to accelerate economic growth.

He said it was encouraging that despite the impact of COVID-19, the country’s exports grew by 4.9 percent to 1.96 billion U.S. dollars in the first half of 2020, from 1.86 billion U.S. dollars recorded during the same period last year.

Imports declined by 5.9 percent from 1.96 billion dollars in the first half of last year to 1.84 billion dollars this year, he said.

“In addition, foreign currency receipts have performed better than anticipated, appreciating by 18 percent as at the end of August 2020. Coupled with Diaspora remittances, these should continue to anchor and drive further stability,” Mnangagwa said while presenting the State of the Nation Address and opening the Third Session of the Ninth Parliament.

He said the government expected the positive trade balance to be sustained through increased productivity and exports across all sectors of the economy.

Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube said last week that the country’s economy is predicted to recover from a projected contraction of 4.5 percent in 2020 to a growth of 7.4 percent in 2021, driven mainly by domestic consumption and investments.

Mnangagwa said to buttress economic gains and enhance the country’s attractiveness as a preferred investment destination, several pieces of legislation will be tabled for consideration during the Third Session of the Ninth parliament.

The Bills include the Economic Empowerment Act, which will replace the Indigenization and Economic Empowerment Act, Mines and Minerals Amendment Act, Sugar Industry Act, Electricity Act, Competition Act, the Zimbabwe Tourism Act and the Parks and Wildlife Act, among others.

He observed that the Second Session of the Ninth Parliament had 25 Bills on its legislative agenda and an additional 15 other Bills, and out of these, only 10 were passed by the august House.

“I therefore call upon the Third Session of the Ninth Parliament to expedite the completion of processes with regards to all outstanding Bills. The enactment of which will help to deepen the ongoing economic reforms as well as entrench constitutionalism and our democratic culture,” he said.

Several pieces of legislation will also be amended to enhance the devolution of powers and functions of the lower tiers of government, as well as completion of media laws to enhance media diversity and pluralism, he said.

A law to revamp the administration of Non-Governmental Organizations and Private Voluntary Organizations will also be considered during the Third Session, Mnangagwa said.

“The conduct of some non-Governmental Organizations and Private Voluntary Organizations who operate outside their mandates and out of sync with the government’s humanitarian priority programs, remain a cause for concern,” he said.