Govt to unveil new economic blueprint

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HARARE – Government plans to unveil yet another economic blueprint titled the “Zimbabwe Programme for Socio-Economic Transformation” (Zimpset).

This comes as the Cabinet – appointed over a month ago – has not made any major policy or strategy pronouncements, keenly awaited by both foreign and local investors.

Market analysts argue that the President Robert Mugabe-led government must come up with austerity measures to steer the revival and growth of Zimbabwe’s distressed economy.

Samuel Undenge, deputy Finance minister, said implementation of Zimpset “is part of government’s bid to boost economic recovery and sustain growth”.

“The thrust is to make sure that we eradicate poverty, achieve food security at the household level and also transform the manufacturing sectors as we have been heavily relying on exports of primary commodities,” he said.

“We can only industrialise when we are capable of adding value to our raw materials and increase income,” the newly appointed Undenge said Monday.

He added that value addition and beneficiation was a top priority “because the economy would remain underdeveloped if exports have no value added to them”.

“When you are exporting primary products you are actually exporting wealth and jobs while the countries you export to will ultimately benefit through creation of jobs. We need to attract foreign direct investment to fund new technology in our industries.”

But, economic analysts contend that there is an overcrowding of policy documents and yet on the other hand, there are no tangible results to support what is encompassed in them over the years gone by.

Before the end of the coalition government following Mugabe’s victory in the July 31 election, the country was pursuing the Mid-Term Policy (MTP) launched in 2011 and set to provide an economic roadmap up to 2015.

“The unveiling of Zimpset is certainly a non-event on Zimbabwe’s economic calendar. We have an MTP which is still unfinished business. The plan failed to raise $9,2 billion for its funding. Zimpset still requires funding if the implementation matrix is to be successful,” said Takunda Mugaga, an independent economist.

He said “this government should avoid a culture of just wanting to be seen to be doing something when that something is not necessary.”

“At the moment Zimbabwe does not need Zimpset or any other blueprints, the cost of coming up with the document will definitely exceed its benefits,” Mugaga said, adding that “any short term policy measure to steer economic direction whilst consolidating the MTP vision has to be the fiscal policy which in simpler terms is the budget statement.”

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