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Tsvangirai to have Dimaf expeditiously disbursed

by Staff reporter
26 Apr 2012 at 05:20hrs | Views
PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday pledged to ensure that the Distressed Industries and Marginalised Areas Fund (Dimaf), which he said was meant for struggling Bulawayo firms, is expeditiously disbursed.

Speaking at the one-day Zimbabwe International Business Conference in Bulawayo, PM Tsvangirai again stuck to his job creation line, and not the ongoing indigenisation and economic empowerment drive he indirectly said, destroyed the economy.

Responding to a question an interactive session later, he defended parastatals and State enterprises saying the poor performance by some of them was not simply because of incompetence of their managers, but other factors beyond their control.

"My tours across the country to assess GWP (Government Work Plan) projects have been a sorry sight," he said.

"Closed companies, old equipment, retrenched workers and ghost towns have been the story of Zimbabwe and we need to avail resources to resuscitate these companies. This is why as Government, we set up Dimaf, a $40 million collaborative fund between Government and Old Mutual Zimbabwe to bail out distressed firms here in Bulawayo.

"In this town alone, 80 companies were closed, leaving 20 000 workers jobless. I am aware of the concerns from various stakeholders regarding the disbursement of this money and I pledge to ensure that this money is immediately disbursed for its intended purpose."

He called for more effort and unity to resolve the prevailing social and economic challenges to revive the economy. The three years of the inclusive Government have restored hope for economic growth, he said.

"So we remain a country of hope and opportunities," he said, "a country with such a large potential for growth that our option is either to destroy or nurture that potential. Some of us want to nurture that potential and we have publicly differed with those policies that do not address job creation or send the correct message to investors. We say no to all forms of machinations that seek to destroy the national wealth for the common good.

"We endeavour to grow the national cake in a more just, equitable and sustainable manner by focusing more on creating new wealth while preserving and growing existing wealth. This is the true spirit of a national empowerment policy that every well-meaning Zimbabwean should be pursuing."

He said the Government is aware of the prevailing challenges affecting the economy which include a huge debt burden, exportation of unprocessed minerals, lack of funding for infrastructure such as road and rail networks, energy shortages, low capacity utilisation in manufacturing and low employment levels.

However, work to address these challenges was being hampered by discord in the inclusive Government.

Responding to a question during the interactive session, PM Tsvangirai said some criticism of the performance of parastatals was unfair.

"I don't want to join the bandwagon by throwing away the baby with the bathwater to condemn parastatals," he said.

"They are facing capitalisation challenges, manpower and other constraints. Government has a three-pronged approach to deal with this. There are those that need to be privatised. Government does not have to be in business, manufacturing for example. There are those that we can go into partnership under the private, public partnership. Thirdly, there are those parastatals of a social nature like water and energy, those we will continue to protect because they provide a utility service."

Speaking during the same session, Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara urged banks to invest in the small and medium enterprises sector which he said can potentially earn financial institutions in Africa $350 billion per year.

On parastatals, he said these institutions are the drivers behind phenomenal economic growths in China, Malaysia and other Asian countries. He said Zimbabwe must learn from the situation in those countries and put parastatals at the centre of economic growth, not to privatise them.

Source - chronicle