A social justice coalition, ZIMCODD says Zimbabwe’s just launched National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1), which will run from January 2021 to 2025 sets high targets, most of which are over-ambitious.
Examples of such targets in the strategy that goes under the theme “Towards a Prosperous and Empowered Upper Middle-Income Society by 2030”, include the issues of unemployment benefits to all, national insurance for the vulnerable and job creation according to the coalition.
“Considering that previous economic blueprints had also set these types of targets which only ended on paper, there is nothing that convince citizens that this is going to work out,” ZIMCODD says.
“Policy implementation remains a challenge in Zimbabwe and this time around the Government has to prove to citizens that it is committed and willing to implement economic policies in the best interest of the nation as a whole.”
ZIMCODD also says the National Development Strategy 1 document overlooks the issue of natural occurrences; how farmers will be compensated and make a provision for households in the event of natural disasters such as cyclones.
“The NDS proposes to achieve the targets by implementing programs that increase capacitation of national strategic institutions and infrastructure development in schools. Achieving these targets requires huge budget allocations to the education sector and priority should therefore be given to infrastructure development and funding for the poor and vulnerable students,” ZIMCODD’s snapshot on NDS 1 reads.
“Further, it is also important to note that effective decentralisation requires accountability of provincial and local authorities to the electorate, as well as delivering of efficient public services and these are issues that the plan has to be attendant to.”
“The unsustainable debt situation further places a heavy tax burden on taxpayers who are already struggling to make ends meet considering poor remuneration they receive and the prevailing high inflation environment which has weakened purchasing power,” the snapshot reads.
Despite the over-ambitious targets, ZIMCODD says that the NDS1 is well crafted and commendable on a number of aspects that previous economic blueprints haven failed to take into account, and it has all the potential to succeed if properly implemented.
The snapshot’s explanation reads, “Firstly, the development strategy clearly articulates the implementation plan or matrix, emphasising on strong need for monitoring and evaluation of progress made.”
“Secondly, the commitment to have the strategy available in different Zimbabwean languages is a positive move to ensure inclusivity and this is a clear departure from the previous blueprints that were only available in English.”