Gabriel Masvora, Business Editor
THE Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim Asset) was crafted to run from October 2013 to December 2018.
Next month, this noble economic blueprint will be marking two years after its launch and maybe as a country it is also time to take a look and critically evaluate how far we have gone in implementing some of the prescribed programmes.
Of course the country cannot have done everything prescribed in Zim Asset but it will also be noble to admit where we have failed so that we can fruitfully utilise the remaining three years to align ourselves with this economic blueprint.
Under normal circumstances, most of the projects that are in Zim Asset should have been halfway through implementation and the country could be looking forward to the final stretch. However, can the country really be proud of what it has done so far? If not, it is definitely time to identify where we have missed and see how we can address the challenges that have hindered the progress of the economic blueprint.
After interacting with some of the people who are spearheading the project, it has come to the fore that many people, including some high ranking Government officials are also clueless on Zim Asset.
Even some ministers seem to be directionless on Zim Asset and are not even aware of what they are supposed to do or champion to ensure the success of the blueprint. This is the biggest problem which has been identified as one of the major problems the country faces when it tries to implement this programme.
Throughout, it has been noted that some Government officials are having problems trying to describe the economic blueprint and selling it to the people. Some stammer, some completely go offside while some have not bothered to read it, resulting in distorted information being fed to the people.
One of the questions which most people even those in high places cannot explain is the difference between a Zimbabwe which was always there, spearheading and implementing its projects from 1980 and a Zimbabwe which is now implementing most of its projects under the guidance of Zim Asset. Reports among those spearheading some of the projects paint a very sad picture on the ground which has seen people being fed with half truths about what Zim Asset entails.
An example was proffered that some politicians have gone to the vendors, some who had been selling on the street for more than 10 years, and then try to explain that what they are doing is part of Zim Asset. It is such assertions that then bring pertinent questions on whether some of these officials are aware of what this economic blueprint is really about.
How then do you expect someone who has been doing the same thing way before the economic blueprint was launched to believe that yes, what they are doing now is linked to Zim Asset simply because it is between October 2013 and December 2018.
Some politicians have gone further using the Zim Asset mantra to raise their profiles so that they can remain relevant to the electorate. That is why most people, if given two minutes to summarise what Zim Asset is all about two years into its implementation, they will fail.
The economic blueprint itself is grouped in four strategic clusters namely Food Security and Nutrition, Social Services and Poverty Eradication, Infrastructure and Utilities and Value Addition and Beneficiation. Ministries have since been grouped to fit into the four clusters. What, however, is worrying is that some of the ministries are not even aware in which clusters they belong and what role they must play to ensure the success of the programme.
That is why it is vital to always consult the blueprint every time when we embark on a project so that we can easily relate to it.
Zim Asset is a results based programme, with very clear projects listed and in some cases clearly indicating how they are supposed to be implemented.
In fact, most of the projects have clear figures, clear time frames and clear targets. If each ministry or rather each cluster can identify real projects mentioned in Zim Asset and pursue them, it will be easy to evaluate the projects.
Some lazy officials have always hidden behind the rhetoric that there is no money to implement these projects but according to Zim Asset, almost each project has a clear method identified which must be used to fund the projects.
President Mugabe was not blind to approve a $27 billion worth of a blueprint knowing our Gross Domestic Product is far from that. He knew that most of these projects will not necessarily be funded from the fiscus but from other options such as Public-Private Partnerships. It was then left in the hands of respective ministries and clusters to then champion these funding options to ensure these projects see the light of the day.
It was also going to even make it easier to explain Zim Asset to the people because concrete examples would be on the ground to back such explanations. Nonthe-less it’s not all doom and gloom. Some of the projects have taken off and it is just a matter of ensuring that we maintain the momentum to ensure that they come in line. One of the major projects under Zim Asset is the expansion of the Kariba South power generation. Construction has been going on over the months and we hope that soon power from the project will be fed into the grid. This will be a major breakthrough at a time when the country is experiencing one of the worst power challenges that has seen load shedding being implemented for 24 hours in some cases.
There are many other projects going on of course, but for them to be a success, we need to be pulling in the same direction.
To pull in the same direction, there is also a need to know what we are pulling and the first port of call is to know what Zim Asset entails. Zimbabwe has great potential and by just working together, Zim Asset can bring massive economic prosperity to the country in the three years remaining.
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