HARARE – Zimbabwe's hopes of reducing poverty are being weighed down by government officials’ failure to implement policy, United Nations resident coordinator Bishow Parajuli has said.
Speaking during a session of consultative meetings on the formulation of the Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy (IPRSP) in Harare last week, Parajuli said the Zanu PF led-government had formulated “good” blueprints which had remained pie-in-the-sky due to inadequate implementation.
The IPRSP is being developed by the Finance ministry and will spell out the country’s medium and long term perspective on poverty reduction.
“I commend government for the initiative to address the high poverty level of 76 percent as per the findings of Zimstat,” Parajuli said.
“I reiterate the commitment of the UN through the 2016-2020 Zimbabwe United Nations Assistance Framework (Zundaf) in which poverty reduction and value addition is one of the six result areas.
“(But) there is need for the IPRSP to have clear implementation modality, followed through strictly during implementation.”
The IPRSP looks to establish a systematic monitoring of poverty trends and rigorous evaluation of poverty reduction. This comes as three million people are in urgent need of food aid.
The country’s social indicators reveal a State in crisis, with high unemployment rate, leaving thousands living on less than a $1 a day. Sections of participants at the three-day consultative meeting felt government was giving them a raw deal.
“I come from Zaka. There is hunger but I have not seen what the ministry is doing in that area other than having consultative meetings in hotels,” said Value Dick, coordinator of National Informal Economy Network.
Keith Charumbira felt government was letting the people down through policy inconsistencies.
“It’s unfortunate some of our problems are due to the fact that there was over politicisation of land redistribution exercise.”
Charumbira said government continues to watch while land reform beneficiaries renege on farming.
Development economist Masimba Manyanya said lack of accountability in government had not only scared foreign investors, but had created a culture of corruption in the public and private sector.
“Money is mysteriously disappearing and that is the money that should be financing the agriculture sector, our small holder farmers,” Manyanya said.
“If it’s true that Zimbabwe boasts of the world’s biggest diamond mining reserves south of the equator, why are we here discussing poverty?”
Senior mineral development officer in the Mines ministry Taurai Dhliwayo said: “It’s true the country is still under explored.
“We have little knowledge of our mineral resources and the ministry is working around the clock to ensure we conduct exploration. That’s why some of the money from mineral exports is going towards this exercise.”