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Muzamhindo presents an Alternative, Clear and sound Development plan which will take Zimbabwe forward

09 Jul 2019 at 09:56hrs | Views
Academic Tinashe Eric Muzamhindo writes:

A policy is a declaration of an intention of an organisation or institution. These are rules and regulations which will set terms of references for an organisation. Zimbabwe is deluded from self-immolation, we are buffeted by inconsistencies, we are incapacitated, buffeted by intra-party politics, indecisive and fluid politics, we have deep deep disputes ranging from electoral and policy inconsistencies. We lack of cohesion. The idea is to bring all stakeholders on the round table, policy makers, business community, and politicians across political divide, civic leaders and academics etc.  If I may ask all the readers, how many minerals do we have in Zimbabwe? The once labelled breadbasket of the region, the second largest producer of platinum in Africa if not the whole world, and we have one of the highest literacy rates in Africa, and best labour practices and skills? What is the problem? Inflammatory and conflicting statements from ministers from the same Government shows that we don't have a policy direction for this country. The statutory Instrument (SI 142), invoked recently may scare the few potential investors away from our country. Whilst the SI may try to achieve the little economic gains, we have to be worried about the prospects of the future. We have a future to bear and it may be difficult to close the gap of inconsistencies.

Policy Consistency

We are buffeted by inconstancies and lack of cohesion. Conflicting statements from Government Ministers from the same structure is a serious concern. Regarding the introduction of the new currency, there was conflicting statements from the State President and Minister of Finance, and this will scare the few potential investors from Zimbabwe.  It is key to have policy clarity to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), in Zimbabwe. Policies must be clear cut, straightforward to ensure there is no room for corruption. Most of these policies give discretion to implementers and we need clear policies that are backed by legislation. Economic variables such as high unemployment rate, strict laws, human rights issues, needed to be reviewed in order to make industry and other economic entries viable. Key factors eroding competitiveness are poor infrastructure, political instability, corruption and restrictive Government bureaucracy.

Cutting Expenditure

A clear salary cut of 5% of senior Government officials was not disclosed to the public. It was a mere bracket statement. There was supposed to be an act of parliament to back the statement. The statement was radical which could be challenged at the court of law. 5% of how much? How much are Ministers getting? How much per-dium are they getting? Travel allowances. It could be 5% of 10 000, and can this be justified as an austerity measure or it's a nosedive? How many foreign missions (embassies), do we have worldwide? Some of them are not even necessary and worthy while to keep them. I would rather suggest, keep those which are strategic economically. Hiring of planes and most expensive jets is not necessary in this environment and it's not conducive. What is our explanation to investors, when they see Government officials globe-trotting? Recently we witnessed four ministers accompanying net ball players at the expense of state coffers? Is it necessary? Abandoning Government duty. How do we explain the austerity concept to development partners? Zambian President Edgar Lungu assigned minister of Foreign Affairs on the recently Niger AU Summit as a way of cutting expenditure. The State President cannot attend all world summits. Some of these meetings, Government can make use of foreign missions (embassies) on behalf of the Government.

Parliament must be downsized and Senate must be abolished

We have a huge and bloated Parliament draining the fiscus. Honestly a small country like Zimbabwe, with more than 300 MPs, including the proportional representatives. Is this not a way of creating jobs for boys and girls? I would suggest delimitation exercise must be conducted in an economic and strategic manner. How much is the Government spending on Parliament and senate? What are the results of these two institutions? It would be ideal for Policy makers to make a possible review on public expenditure. We have over 100 senators and one would ask, how do we justify the existence of a senate? Is this a way of creating employment to disgruntled party members or it's a genuine concept? Money could be used to redirect expenditure to critical sectors of the economy. Government through the Minister of Finance is going to disburse over 10 million for Parliamentary vehicle scheme facility which could be used to purchase drugs, build more clinics and hospitals and improving the state of our infrastructure.

Institutional Reforms

This is a process of reviewing and re-structuring state institutions so that they respect human rights, preserve the rule of law and are accountable to their constituents. The public sector is the single most important investment instrument for the state, and improving the way it is managed is critical for development outcomes including service delivery, social protection and private sector regulation. Public sector Governance reform involves institutional reforms, changing the rules and norms that govern the public sector activity. We have people in Government without 5 o levels, we have heads of parastatals who have no proper qualifications. Some of them were deployed as political tools to bankroll party activities and functionaries. We also have non-perfoming state companies which must be closed down. Most of these non-profitable parastatals are draining the fiscus. Government must look into ways of coming up with a proper economic and legal framework to regularize the function of state companies and at the same time come up with a privatization policy.

Re-engagement Plan must reflect Inclusiveness

I would suggest that the inter-task committee which was set to spearhead the re-engagement agenda must be inclusive. It would be ideal for President Mnangagwa to establish an inclusive cluster which can deal with the matter. It would be ideal to see Academics, people from the corporate world with proper experiences, business community, policy advisors and makers and non-partisan people if we are to be taken seriously by the international community. We have serious debt obligations which needs sincerity and clarity. The nature of our debts must be there for public scrutiny.

 
Tinashe Eric Muzamhindo – Doctor of Philosophy in Development Studies – Candidate from Women's University of Africa and he can be contacted at tinamuzala@gmail.com

Twitter handle: tinashericmuza

Source - Tinashe Eric Muzamhindo
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