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Mnangagwa hints at lockdown extension

by Staff reporter
11 Jul 2020 at 08:05hrs | Views
AMID an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases including deaths, President Mnangagwa yesterday hinted that the Government could scale up preventive and containment measures.

Addressing an Ordinary Session of the Zanu-PF Politburo at the party headquarters in Harare, President Mnangagwa, who is the party's First Secretary, said the rapid spike in infections required another review of the Covid-19 lockdown measures currently at Level 2.

"Although there is a visible spike in the number of positive cases, largely due to returnees, we shall continue to strengthen our preventive measures as well as our testing, and contact tracing capacity. "I urge the party to continue to be in the forefront of raising the awareness levels in our communities of the dangers of this pandemic. The recent rapid spike of infections requires that we make another review of the Covid-19 lockdown measures,'' he said.

His comments come at a time when experts, including the World Health Organisation (WHO) have called upon the country to tighten the Covid-19 containment measures in the wake of complacency among the public. Thirteen people have died of the disease since the first death in March this year. Infections from the contagion stand at more than 900 cases.
In his address, that also touched on the country's economic recovery path, through interventions from the Government, the President said price stability is now returning after the exposure of businesses that were bleeding the economy through underhand dealings bordering on criminality.

"I am happy to note that stability is returning to the financial services sector and a trend is emerging showing the reduction of prices. As Government, we envisage a situation where foreign currency resources and raw materials are improved for the productive sector as this will result in increased availability and affordability of goods as well as the creation of jobs," he said.

The recent introduction of the Foreign Currency Auction System that has stabilised the macro-economic environment also has the potential of taming the ever escalating prices that were pegged on black market rates.

Despite the dark cloud that has been cast by the Covid-19 pandemic, that has wrecked world economies as well as killing thousands of people worldwide, President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe continued to witness various developments across all sectors. For instance, notwithstanding successive droughts, the crucial agricultural sector particularly tobacco continues to reap rich dividends for the country.

He said: "There is need to continuously review our strategies with regards to making sure that the winter wheat targets are met through both increased hectares planted and yields produced per hectare".

The President said-PFumvudza Farming, an agricultural concept that entails utilisation of conservation methods towards the agricultural recovery plan, which is a brainchild of the party as espoused in its 2018 manifesto has been well received by "our people and I commend the structures of the party for their role in popularising it and mobilising our people to be production oriented".

With water levels in Kariba Dam increasing and with it increased power generation, the President said power cuts will be reduced while industrial productivity will be enhanced.

"On energy, the water inflow into Kariba Dam is set to increase our hydro-power generation capacity, thereby reducing power cuts as well as our import bill. Greater efforts must be made to ensure that power on the national grid is used for the productive sector. Hence the use of green energy solutions for domestic purposes must be encouraged and popularised.

"The construction of Hwange 7 and 8 is on course and I will soon visit Matabeleland North to tour other mining developments which will have a positive bearing on our country's self-energy self-sufficient," he said.

In addition, President Mnangagwa said road construction and other infrastructure projects are progressing well. Treasury recently released money towards the construction of Causeway Dam as well as Gwayi-Shangani Dam among other development projects.

"Resources for road rehabilitation and bridge construction are also ongoing. Interventions by Government have seen a notable improvement in the water situation in the City of Bulawayo while other strategies are being developed to improve water and sanitation in other towns and cities throughout the country," he said.

President Mnangagwa emphasised the need to facilitate a people-centred economic development that would ensure equitable development towards the attainment of Vision 2030 and challenged party members to work closely with the Government. On security issues, the President warned rogue non-governmental organisations (NGOs), trade unions, churches and some foreign embassies against destabilising prevailing peace, unity and harmony through dabbling in politics, saying the ruling party will not allow such conduct.

He said the Second Republic re-engagement efforts with all nations should never be mistaken for a sign of weakness but signifies his Government commitment and value for international solidarity based on mutual respect. This comes as some NGOs, unions and embassies have been openly abusing their stations to stir anti-government sentiments through sponsoring industrial actions, notwithstanding the Second Republic's commitment to dialogue.

"We continue to see acts that seek to outrightly destabilise the peace, unity and harmony we are enjoying, in particular through the use of platforms in the health, education and security sectors. We shall never quiver or capitulate in the face of these machinations. Zanu-PF is a Revolutionary Party, a party of liberation, a party with a rich ideology, history and a vision for the future. This character of our party is stronger than any challenge we may face no matter from what front or force," he said.

Source - the herald