‘Govt should implement its blueprint’

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HARARE – The Zanu PF-led government should focus on implementing strategies and policies outlined in its new economic blueprint, Zimbabwe Agenda for Socio-Economic Transformation (Zimaset), or risk failing the economy, experts say.

They said while the new economic roadmap — to guide Zimbabwe for the next five years — is ideal for the country, Zanu PF’s lack of commitment and minimal implementation could be the stumbling block in attaining Zimaset’s objectives.

Among its goals, Zimaset targets to grow Zimbabwe’s moribund economy by an average 7,3 percent between this year and 2018.

Brains Muchemwa, an independent economist, said government should implement the policy in its entirety.
“The document (blueprint) is wonderful. It was well-crafted on paper.

“It looks good, but the challenge now is it needs to be implemented so that the country benefits from such brilliant ideas,” he said.

Muchemwa said economic issues must go beyond politics.

“The government also needs to come up with long-term policies which can supersede electoral timelines,” said Muchemwa.

Commenting on his Facebook page, former Finance minister Tendai Biti, said “Zimbabweans should not expect much from the latest blueprint as the country has in the past failed to implement various economic policies.”

“We are in fact suffering from a constipation of the same,” he said.

Zimbabwe has adopted numerous economic policies since 1980 — when the country gained independence from Britain — such as the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme (Esap) published as Framework For Economic Reform (1990-1995), the 1998 Zimbabwe’s Programme for Economic and Social Transformation (Zimprest), Vision 2020, the Millennium Economic Reform Plan (MERP), the Six Point Plan, and the 2003 National Economic Revival Plan (NERP) among others.

Biti noted that many of these plans were “long on talking but short on implementation”.

“Many too never ran their course and were abruptly dropped midstream.

“This includes Vision 2020, (Simba) Makoni’s MERP which was abruptly dropped for the Six Point Plan, which also had a still birth as it gave way to NERP,” he said.

Biti added that to achieve the growth projected in Zimaset, there is need to make fundamental decisions and “more importantly major paradigm policy shifts on the part of Zanu PF.”

He noted that the country must also have to repeal the Indigenisation and Empowerment Act and find a compromise with investment.

The new economic blueprint comes as a successor to the Medium-Term Plan (MTP) that was consummated during the tenure of the inclusive government and was expected to run until 2015.

MTP — which required approximately $9,3 billion for full implementation —  lacked donor support on which the blueprint was premised on, failed to meet most of its target between 2011 and 2012.

Among other things the MTP aimed to grow the economy by an average of seven percent between 2011 and 2015, increase Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) levels to 25 percent of Gross Domestic Product by 2016 and maintain a single digit inflation rate.

Zimaset identifies mining, agriculture, transport, tourism, information communication technology, enhanced support for small and medium scale enterprises as well as infrastructural sectors primarily focusing on power generation as key drivers for the projected growth targets.

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