The Sunday News
GOVERNMENT says the country’s blueprint, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim Asset) is already showing its impact in reviving the country’s economy as realised by the various positive developments taking place in a number of sectors.
Finance and Economic Development Deputy Minister, Dr Samuel Undenge, said Government’s efforts of turning around the country through Zim Asset had started in earnest within a year since the launching of the blueprint.
“The success of Zim Asset is not an overnight occurrence. The blueprint is still to attain a year as it was only launched in October last year but it has already achieved a number of positives across various sectors of the economy, chief among them being on infrastructural development, agriculture and issues to do with beneficiation and value addition,” Dep Minister Undenge said.
He said it was worthwhile to note that the progress taking place in a number of sectors was transpiring with little funding from Treasury and in the absence of offshore lines of credit.
“In terms of monetary or budgetary support we are constrained to fund a number of projects enshrined in Zim Asset but through foreign investments we have managed to see the expansion of the Kariba hydropower and the Hwange thermal power stations as well as the methane gas which is now being pumped out. All these are critical in Zim Asset as energy is regarded as one of the most influential enablers of the economy while the expansion of the two power stations is infrastructural development which is of course enshrined in the blueprint,” Dep Minister Undenge said.
He said Government’s agricultural support scheme for the 2013/14 season saw an increase in the country’s maize output. A total of 1,6 million households benefited from the Presidential Agriculture Inputs Scheme.
“Through the agricultural support scheme we have seen an increase in the country’s maize tonnage, which of course is important towards ensuring adequate food security which is of course a critical component in Zim Asset.
“We are also making headway on value addition and beneficiation as realised by the efforts we are undertaking in the mining sector of ensuring that all minerals destined for the export market are added value,” Dr Undenge said.
Government intends to soon make beneficiation and value addition of the country’s mineral resources compulsory, as part of the new mines and mineral policy, in order to fully extract value from minerals.
“Of course we haven’t made progress in the social services sector but there has been some bit on improvements. For instance we are still experiencing shortages of stationery in schools and in hospital the medication is not adequate but we hope to address all these issues and definitely after five years Zim Asset will have achieved most of its goals,” Dep Minister Undenge said.
A number of economists interviewed by Sunday Business said there was a need for Government to access foreign lines of credit to ensure the successful implementation of Zim Asset.
“The enthusiasm is there but it is at implementation where we are found wanting. Government is trying its best to play its part in ensuring the success of this blueprint but the major drawback is funding which is a bottleneck.
“Even if there is strong political will if there is no funding it will be difficult for it to achieve its goal. However, we are only less than a year into it. We will have to wait and see what comes out of it in the next four years,” said the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce, chief economist, Mr Kipson Gundani, said.
A senior lecturer at the Zimbabwe Open University, Mr Remigios Mangizvo, said there was a need to simplify the document to ensure that it was understood by laymen.
“It’s (Zim Asset document) still elitist we need to have it written in Shona and Ndebele so that the majority of people understand and grasp it, that way communities will fully participate in growing the country’s economy. It should also be fused into our educational curriculum to ensure that youths understand it as well,” he said.