The Sunday News
Kuda Bwititi, Harare Bureau
THE ongoing “painful but necessary reforms” by the new administration are set to deliver sustainable jobs, economic stability, growth and development, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said.
In a special address to the nation on Friday to mark his first year in office, the Head of State and Government said making the Zimbabwe dollar the sole tender for domestic transactions would increase the country’s export earnings and help promote a free-market economy. He also exhorted political parties that still remain outside the recently launched Political Actors Dialogue (Polad) to join the platform.
“On the economic front, painful but necessary reforms have been made in the year that has gone by. The multi-currency regime, which ran from 2009, has now given way to reforms towards a national currency whose value is determined by the market.
“The multi-currency regime had eroded our export drive thus hurting our recovery efforts. Through this key reform, and the operationalisation of open market in all spheres, we have geared our economy for a major transformation underpinned by greater efficiencies, fair value and secure property rights. While the beginning may be painful, the medium to long run will deliver more durable jobs, economic stability, growth and development.”
He said Government has started planning for this year’s summer cropping season following last year’s El Nino-induced drought, which drastically reduced agricultural output.
President Mnangagwa said notwithstanding the upheaval inherent in transitioning from old policies to new policies, the country has to brace for a bright future. Positive signs such as the country’s newly found ability to generate more revenues and contain its expenses and the continued re-engagement with the international community had become noticeably recorded during the past year, he added.
“We are on the right path and our ambitious vision is within grasp. We continue to engage international financial institutions and creditor nations so we unlock more inputs towards our full recovery. The ongoing discussions with our creditors are promising, with our Staff Monitored Programme with the International Monetary Fund proceeding remarkably well.
“For the first time in decades, Government has been able to balance its books and to even enjoy a healthy surplus. This points to good stewardship of public affairs, itself a prerequisite for normalising relations with international financial institutions and creditor nations.”
Government, he added, had also been able to repeal indigenisation laws that were unattractive to investment, including fast-tracking the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Authority (Zida) Bill to create a one-stop shop for investors.
Laws that inhibit the ease of doing business had also been relooked. Dialogue, the President added, could also be used as an instrument for durable peace.
“In working for a durable peace, I pledge to keep the hand of dialogue and goodwill outstretched to all Zimbabweans, including those I raced against in the July polls. Never again should electoral contest be allowed to degenerate into open conflict that mars our peace.
“The national dialogue, through which the majority of the national political leadership has sought to find one another, and to work together on national issues, is now underway. I continue to urge the few parties which have shunned the national dialogue to please reconsider by joining in the consolidation of national peace, and in working in harmony for economic recovery and growth.”
President Mnangagwa said his visit to Russia last October helped enhance bilateral and investment ties with Moscow. He also noted the upgrade in bilateral relations with Namibia and Tanzania, which is expected to increase trade and enhance the country’s export drive. Considerable progress has been made in restoring the country’s infrastructure, particularly roads, he said.
“After several years of neglect and decline, our infrastructure has begun to receive attention. Many of our trunk roads are under construction, as too are our feeder roads. While contracts for the dualisation of key roads are being finalised, work on the same continue through our efforts.
“Equally, our rail network and services are being revamped so, alongside modern highways, we transform Zimbabwe into a regional transportation hub with excellent links to other countries and seaports,” he said.
The President said he was hopeful that the 2019/2020 summer cropping season would be a better one.
“Efforts are ready underway to mobilise inputs for the new season to perform better in order to lighten our import burden. These include a greater push towards a bigger hectarage under irrigation to cushion ourselves from vagaries of the weather.”
He assured the nation that “no Zimbabwean life should be lost on account of drought” as Government was working with international partners to ensure that the effects of the drought are mitigated.
President Mnangagwa said Government would continue to provide social safety nets, including improving public transport and revamping.