THE broad set of economic reforms rolled out by the Second Republic over the past three years are now bearing fruit, with the country on the cusp of achieving prosperity for the majority of its citizens, President Mnangagwa has said.
In a State of the Nation Address at State House in Harare yesterday, the President said owing to the historic reforms, the sparks of economic hope were brighter than ever and prosperity was visible on the horizon.
He said when his administration decided to bring back the Zimbabwe dollar and urged patience, critics thought the country would enter into a hyper-inflationary period, but that patience has now paid off as naysayers have been proved wrong.
“Led by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Professor Mthuli Ncube, the deep and broad reforms of the last three years are beginning to bear fruit, and the world is taking note,” the President said.
“These are perhaps the largest set of reforms in our nation’s history. In just three years, we now see hope and progress. We see a once broken economy showing all the fundamental indicators that it is on the road to being well and truly fixed.
“Inflation has been playing havoc in our economy, making it difficult for people and organisations to make much saving.”
President Mnangagwa said the Government would continue to do all it can to put inflation under control.
“When we announced that we would be launching our own currency and taking our monetary fate into our own hands, many mocked us as they did not believe it would be possible since the inflation rate initially increased significantly,” he said.
“We urged patience as it appeared as if the economy was approaching a hyperinflation period.
“Today, that patience has been rewarded. The auction system to supply foreign currency for priority imports that we put in place last August is working, and inflation is actually trending down.”
Since the introduction of the auction system, month-on-month inflation has been going down, standing at just 1,58 percent for the month of April.
“Again, Government revenues, which have risen by five percent year-on-year since the beginning of 2020, are creating balanced budgets for the first time in living memory,” said President Mnangagwa.
“While the unemployment rate is still high, and too many Zimbabweans are still unemployed and hungry, the number of Zimbabwean-made goods on our shelves has increased ten-fold.
“When a leading financial journalist described the “sea change” in our economic outlook, many investors agreed with him.
“Productivity and prosperity promise to increase in the second half of 2021.”
The President welcomed the news that the European Investment Bank (EIB) has agreed a new €15 million fund to support Zimbabwean businesses while also applauding the country’s gains on the Ease of Doing Business global rankings.
“Zimbabwe has risen an incredible 21 places on the Ease of Doing Business rankings over the past three years, and 31 places over the past five years. Our progress is getting noticed and as we creep towards the end of this global pandemic, Zimbabwe, through various rigorous reforms, is well placed to be an attractive location for business, and a gateway to economic activity in Southern Africa, though we still have much more work to do.”
President Mnangagwa however, lamented that too many youths are still without the tools needed to thrive in a global digital economy.
“This is why we will continue to reform. We were told our reforms were too harsh and extreme, but alas they are working. So it is not time to pull back but time to double down and introduce more, broader and deeper reforms,” he said.
“We must work tirelessly to create conditions for a better future for our children and generations to come. There can be no resting on our laurels.”
President Mnangagwa said success starts with enabling the private sector to thrive.
“We must unleash the creative juices of the business sector and young entrepreneurs,” he said.
“There is also a need to further reduce red-tape to encourage foreign investment and liberalise and privatise industry.
“There is much excitement in the international business community surrounding the potential of Zimbabwe’s human capital. We now must make sure that this human capital is trained and is ‘liquid’ enough to make sure the supply can meet demand.
“Indeed, one of the ways we are working on in bringing in foreign companies and foreign currency is through our international re-engagement programme. Zimbabwe has opened a new chapter and era with the whole world.”
President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe continues to reach out to old adversaries holding the olive branch of peace, and a renewed call for friendship.
“We have also managed to solve even the thorniest of issues, including white farmer compensation, and the world is taking note.
“From this platform today, I once again call on our friends in the East and the West, both new and old, to join us and be part of this revolution and economic reawakening. Opportunities are in abundance.”
President Mnangagwa thanked the people of Zimbabwe for their hard work and resilience.
“Thank you for your display of unity and solidarity through some of the most trying times in our history. You have faced cyclones and pandemics, hyperinflation and famines, and yet you have stood strong, as determined as ever.”
Turning to the Covid-19 pandemic, President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe is one of the leading countries in administering a robust Covid-19 vaccination rollout programme in Africa and the world at large, a development which has seen foreign nationals coming to the country to get inoculated.
He said while all foreigners are welcome to get vaccinated in Zimbabwe, they will be asked to pay a small fee to boost the country’s medical tourism.
“Despite my decades of public office, I have never been more humble and prouder to serve my nation than today. Today, in the midst of a global pandemic, when times are hard and many around the world have chosen negativity and violence, Zimbabweans have chosen positivity and peace.
“Now, it is the time to build on that positivity and peace, and a future of productivity and prosperity for all.”
The President said Zimbabwe’s excellent Covid-19 record is testimony that the public listened to the rules when the leaders spoke.
“Of course, we all have been affected, and we mourn every life lost, every human being taken away from us too early is a tragedy,” he said.
“When the vaccines around the world became available, we acted decisively and started using them. As a result, Zimbabwe is fast becoming Africa’s vaccination nation. We have authorised the use of four Covid-19 vaccines, namely China’s Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines, Russia’s Sputnik V and Covaxin from India. We therefore thank our international partners for working with us to bring these life-saving vaccines to our nation so promptly.”
President Mnangagwa said Zimbabweans must demonstrate humanity and not deny foreigners the vaccine.
“Though Zimbabweans get the vaccine for free, foreigners who come here can also receive the vaccine but just for a small fee,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said while Zimbabweans have over the years migrated to other countries for various reasons, no one will be leaving in order to get vaccinated.
“As our vaccination programme continues to excel, more and more people are in fact coming into Zimbabwe to get vaccinated and in the process, boost our medical tourism.” – Sunday Mail