HARARE – In a desperate attempt to have its recently-unveiled economic blueprint succeed, the Zanu PF-led government is planning on taking the document to churches in a bid to have it endorsed by the people.
Although the economic blue print, dubbed the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim Asset), has been on the market for the past two months it has failed to halt the country’s economic decline.
Zimbabwe’s economy, which began to show signs of life during the inclusive government era after a decade of hyperinflation, is slowly fading back into recession due to persistent droughts, falling metal prices and lack of foreign direct investment.
However, Zim Asset aims to grow the economy by 3,4 percent this year and by 6,1 percent in 2014, with the ultimate target of achieving a 9,9 percent growth rate by 2018 — but the government has been struggling to secure funding for these plans.
Among other things, Zim Asset seeks to rebuild infrastructure, re–open closed factories, pay off the country’s external debt and provide cheap housing and better access to identity documents.
It also seeks to run all government buildings on solar energy by 2015.
Tourism minister, Walter Mzembi says there is need to take the blue print to churches in its current format so that people can fully understand and embrace it.
“What we have learnt from the past policies such as the Medium Term Plan (MTP) and the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme (Esap) is that we must climb down a mountain and bring down Zim Asset to the people,” he said.
Mzembi noted that churches are the only places these days where most people willingly meet and government must take advantage of the situation and preach its policies.
“For Zim Asset to succeed we must package it in a way that it can be received over night by church members instead of taking it to people on the streets,” he said.
The former liberation movement is trying hard to have a global buy-in in the document and has been lining up diplomats to endorse Zim Asset.
This comes as there have been public outcries over the crafting and implementation of the economic blueprint — which is yet to be officially launched.
Economic commentators claim that government bungled by adopting Zim Asset at Zanu PF headquarters when it was supposed to be a national policy.
Tony Hawkins, University of Zimbabwe Graduate School of Business lecturer said for the economy to grow at 7,3 percent annually according Zim Asset target, Zimbabwe will need to invest 33 percent or so of GDP each year.
“Of course, there is much more to growth than investment. Going forward growth will be limited by a number of binding constraints that will make it extremely difficult to reach the Zim Asset target.
“If growth depends heavily on investment and investment depends significantly on savings, then consumption growth must slow substantially,” Hawkins said.
Deputy chief secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet Ray Ndhlukula last week called for the alignment of the Zimbabwe United Nations Development Assistance Framework (Zundaf) with the recently-adopted economic blueprint to ensure congruency in their life span and activities.
Zundaf, which was adopted last year and would end in 2015, is the UN’s strategic programme to support national development priorities and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
“Zim Asset is the economic blueprint that is guiding the operations of Government until 2018 and, therefore, there is need to align the Zundaf with Zim Asset to ensure that there is no programming disjuncture between Government thrust and Zundaf,” said Ndhlukula.