Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) has responded to President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s State Of The Nation Address (SONA) by saying the legislative agenda falls short of recognition of the citizens’ crucial role in economic development planning.
Zimbabwe’s President presented SONA during the official opening of the first session of the Ninth Parliament of Zimbabwe on Tuesday this week.
“ZIMCODD is concerned that the legislative agenda set forth by the President primarily seeks to give an impetus to the ambitious Upper Middle Income Economy (U-MIE) Agenda through a market-oriented investment drive,” the coalition said.
“Citizen participation and government accountability are important governance principles for promoting sustainable development. The legislative agenda falls short of recognition of the citizens’ crucial role in economic development planning.”
ZIMCODD said the new administration should prioritise the growth of the Zimbabwean economic drivers.
“Rapid economic growth in Zimbabwe will initially be driven by 5 key sectors which are Agriculture, Mining, Tourism, Industry and Manufacturing,” ZIMCODD says.
“However as the economy begins to turn, additional sectors will start to become significant contributors and these include Information Communication and Technology; Regional Wholesale and Retail Trade.”
“The nation is endowed with abundant valuable natural resources particularly in the form of mineral wealth, arable land and attractive tourist destinations which have not translated into improved standard of living for the majority of the citizens,” ZIMCODD said.
The coalition also said that the administration should strengthen the foundations and enablers of the economic growth.
“In order to achieve the aspired over 10% per annum GDP growth required to get us to middle-income status, the incoming status, the incoming administration will need to ensure that there is strong investment in the key areas that catalyse and enable socio-economic growth and address any outstanding legacy issues that have prevented growth,” ZIMCODD says.
“These include updating and developing new infrastructure for transportation, power, water, industry, manufacturing and social services; Upgrading and developing new human capital skills required to create an highly skilled workforce; Embedding science, digitalization and technology into every aspect of the economy and society to improve efficiencies, productivity and ensure lasting impact; Instituting reforms in the public sector to create a results-driven culture and adopt a comprehensive informal sector inclusion framework.”
Zimbabwe is in the process of calling out foreign investors in a bid to develop the country.
During the SONA address, President Mnangagwa said his administration has committed to prioritising economic development as a response to the pressing need to leapfrog Zimbabwe’s economic development in line with the national aspirations as well as the regional, continental and international trajectory.
The Zimbabwean leader said the advent of the Second Republic herald brighter prospects and resolutely focuses towards rapid modernisation and industrialisation of the country’s economy.
“United by our vision to be a Middle Income Economy with a per capita income of USD3 500, increased investment, decent jobs, broad-based empowerment, free from poverty and corruption by 2030; we must all individually and collectively put shoulders to the wheel and play our part in the rebuilding of our great country,” the Zimbabwean President said.
“My Government, cognisant that the world is not one basket and encouraged by the goodwill and support we have received to date, will continue to accelerate the international engagement and re-engagement policy, underpinned by mutual respect, peaceful development, shared principles and common values.”
ZIMCODD also notes that the Zimbabwean economy remains in choking debt stress and unsustainable fiscal deficit.
“Government has resorted to finance the unsustainable budget deficit through the issuance of Treasury Bills (TBs) and recourse to overdraft with the Reserve Bank,” ZIMCODD says. “The trend is expected to increase owing to a projected budget deficit of US$672.3 million (3.5% of GDP) in 2018.”