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Mnangagwa two years on

by Nqobile Tshili, Nduduzo Tshuma and Prosper Ndlovu
28 Aug 2020 at 06:47hrs | Views
THE Second Republic under President Mnangagwa has, in the two years of its span, recorded a number of milestones across sectors towards the achievement of Vision 2030 to transform the economy and improve lives of Zimbabweans while repositioning the country in the community of nations.

President Mnangagwa was given the mandate to rule the country when he and his Zanu-PF party romped to victory in the 2018 elections and set out to, through various interventions, take Zimbabwe back to her glory days.

Under President Mnangagwa's leadership, Government re-introduced the Zimbabwean dollar after 10 years of dollarisation while implementing bold fiscal and monetary reforms to that saw the country registering, for the first time in many years, surplus budget in the year 2019.

Owing to these reforms, Zimbabwe has been ranked 3rd in Africa on budget transparency, according to the Open Budget Survey.

The Government has also embarked on a number of infrastructural development projects white providing social safety nets for citizens affected by Covid-19 and successive droughts recorded in the country.

In a statement to mark the second year since the coming of the Second Republic, President Mnangagwa said despite economic challenges, his Government was committed to improving people's livelihoods.

"Two years ago, today, I was inaugurated as your President. I vowed to serve Zimbabwe and its people so that we could move towards a more prosperous future. Zimbabwe is not without its challenges. But rest assured that myself and this Government are fully committed to improving our great nation for the benefit of all Zimbabweans," said President Mnangagwa.

He said the US$4,2 billion Great Dyke Platinum and the US$4 billion Karo Resources Mhondoro-Ngezi platinum projects are some of the initiatives that his administration was implementing to transform the economy.

Government has committed itself to compensate former commercial white farmers to the tune of US$3,5 billion for improvements made on farms, ending years of contestations.

President Mnangagwa said Government was undertaking various infrastructure construction projects that include the Makuti-Chirundu and Karoi-Binga roads while some such as the Chiredzi-Tanganda Road were completed.

Government is also working on the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport expansion project while dams such as Gwayi-Shangani, Causeway and Marovanyati are under construction.

The President said the introduction of the Zimbabwe dollar after a decade of dollarisation has addressed the over reliance on imports.

To improve on agriculture output, President Mnangagwa said Government continues to provide vulnerable farmers with subsidised farming inputs while training at least 1,8 million farmers countrywide to optimise grain production ahead of the summer cropping season.

Government also introduced an $18 billion stimulus package, to ensure that the economy recovers from effects of Covid-19.

Government is also implementing the new curriculum to promote inclusive education, as pregnant pupils will no longer be expelled from school.

Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Professor Paul Mavima said in the face of devastating natural disasters, Government has managed to provide safety nets to cushion them from hardships.

He said successive droughts in the 2018/2019 and 2019/2020 have increased citizens vulnerability of citizens who were being assisted by Government and development partners.

"All vulnerable individuals, be it the elderly, disabled or child headed families on a monthly basis they get some assistance. Last year as Government only we were providing assistance to more than 3,6 million people and this year we are going to provide food aid to almost four million people. As Government we have organised with international partners for instance World Food Programme and last year we were supporting about seven million and this year we are looking at about eight million," he said.

Prof Mavima said Government is targeting to increase fees payment for vulnerable children under the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) from 400 000 to one million children.

He said under BEAM, Government this year for the first-time paid examination fees for vulnerable children and would be buying their stationery and uniforms going forward.

"We also offer bills assistance for Zimbabweans who fail to pay for their health bills. In some cases, we have even given money to people who have been treated abroad but who could not pay for themselves. When Covid-19 hit, we made a target to reach one million people through cash transfers and we have registered 200 000 but we are rushing to reach the targeted figure," he said.

Prof Mavima said Government is also reaching out to people with disabilities where it is capacitating them on entrepreneurship skills and has already trained 20 000 and is targeting to increase the number.

In terms of child protection, Government is providing shelter and other basic services for children and adults living on the streets. In Bulawayo, 31 boys are being kept at Jairos Jiri Training Centre and there are other centres countrywide.

On the political front, after romping to victory in the 2018 elections, President Mnangagwa created the Political Actors Dialogue (Polad), a platform for political parties that fielded presidential candidates in the 2018 harmonised elections to contribute to social, economic and political progress.

The President also appointed the Presidential Advisory Council comprising of and leaders from various sectors to advise and assist him in formulating key economic policies and strategies that advance Vision 2030.

In his quest to ensure unity and reconciliation, the President appointed retired Judge, Justice Sello Nare to head the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission to address a number of issues including the emotive Gukurahundi issue.

To date the NPRC has set up provincial structures comprising stakeholders including political parties, civil society, state organs to discuss on how to address conflicts in communities.

The President also heeded calls by the Matabeleland Collective, a grouping of civil society and church organisations, to discuss a number of issues including g Gukurahundi and development in the region.

The President has held three meetings at State House in Bulawayo, which on the second, was expanded to include organisations outside Matabeleland Collective.

International re-engagement with an economic bias saw Zimbabwe strengthening ties with a number of countries and blocs, among them the European Union, United Arab Emirates, Russia, Britain, China, Japan, Israel and others.

In another diplomatic score, the President Mnangagwa brought the issue of illegal sanctions against Zimbabwe on an international scale.

In August last year, Sadc declared October 25 as the solidarity day against illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe and roundly calling for their lifting.

The regional campaign widened beyond the regional bloc to the entire continent when the African Union (AU) voiced its objections to the sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe calling for their immediate removal.

Internationally, China, Cuba and the Non-Aligned Movement made strong calls for the removal of the sanctions.

On the anti-corruption fight, a number of arrests were made including senior officials most prominent being former Tourism Minister Priscah Mupfumira and former Health Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo who are facing pending cases of graft. Both were sacked form their ministerial positions.

Other prominent figures were former Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko among other senior officials in the public and private sectors.

Under President Mnangagwa's administration, major ground in spearheading economic, social and political reform which has seen the repeal of laws such as AIPPA and POSA.

Despite prevailing temporary hardships facing Zimbabwean, the new dispensation has clearly succeeded in laying the necessary reform foundation for economic transformation in the medium to long term.

Indeed, most of the reforms have been painful as they began under the "austerity" banner, which was inevitable as Government sought to address the historic loopholes created by gaps in the previous administration.

The austerity measures were buttressed by a new era of international re-engagement guided by economic diplomacy and a commitment to enhance domestic and foreign investments under the "Zimbabwe is open for Business" mantra.

Bold fiscal and monetary reforms have been implemented to trim Government expenditure and achieve budget balance as well as tame trade deficit. For the first time in years, Zimbabwe registered surplus budget in the year 2019. Owing to these, Zimbabwe has been ranked 3rd in Africa on budget transparency, according to the Open Budget Survey.

President Mnangagwa has initiated the scrapping of the indigenisation regulations, which had been a bone of contention for both foreign and local investors on key economic sectors.

Stabilisation of pricing and sanity in the exchange rate has been ushered in following the introduction of the foreign currency exchange auction system on June 2020 and clampdown against abuse of mobile money transfer systems by parallel market players.

There has also been the launch of the US$12 billion mining road map by 2023 anchored on new investment projects and value addition with massive job opportunities downstream. A similar roadmap has been launched for the tourism sector, which targets US$5bn economy by 2025.

Owing to the ease of doing business reforms and other reforms, Zimbabwe has climbed 15 points up the ease of doing business global ranking to number 140 out of 190.

"Radical economic transformation policies in Zimbabwe are beginning to pay off as the economy is stabilising after enduring two decades of poor governance, sanctions and serious natural calamities," Finance and Economic Development Minister, Prof Mthuli Ncube, commented.

Source - chroncile

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