By Takasununguka Ziki
The 2019 independence celebrations where held amid a period of promise of great times to come and a clarion call for government arms to walk the talk. A period when Zimbabweans are facing trying economic times amid promises of a better tomorrow after the expiration of the period of austerity for prosperity possibly after 2 years of implementation.
It is against this background that the president made his carefully crafted speech to try and placate the masses who have endured years of economic deprivation following almost two decades of sanctions coupled with a lean national cake that is further thinned away by the devouring corrupt Mongrels who stop at nothing to stick their filthy fingers in the cookie jars.
Speech began by recognizing all who were present by observing all protocols.
He also observed the presence of the masses who braced the rains.
He paid tribute to individuals, organizations and nations who helped and continue to pour in their help to cyclone Idai ravaged parts of the nation.
He made a revelations that the implementation of the Transitional Stabilization Programme, has since gathered momentum and Government remains committed to addressing distortions in all sectors of the economy.
Her made it clear that Government has made an upward review of producer prices of maize, soya beans, wheat and cotton. Wheat supplies are set to also improve.
He intimated that small scale bakeries will be facilitated to enhance more affordable bread prices.
The setting up of Silo Foods Company will further see increased availability and affordability of many basic commodities throughout the country.
In the fuel sector, he said government was adopting long term strategies to stabilise both the availability and pricing of the product.
On the monetary front, he said the introduction of a market-based exchange rate system is expected to stabilise the economy, in the long run.
However, he said, Government was alarmed by the recent wanton and indiscriminate increases of prices which has brought about untold suffering to the people. This conduct by stakeholders in business, industry and commerce is inhumane, unethical, unpatriotic and goes against the grain of economic dialogue which the 2nd Republic has espoused . He made it clear that Government remains determined to restore the purchasing power of all workers.
He said he re-assures the citizenry that the Land Reform Programme is irreversible. As Zimbabweans fought for the land and they will never ever regret taking back their land. Neither will they ever betray their fellow comrades who paid the supreme sacrifice for this land and now lie buried in marked and unmarked graves within our boarders and beyond.
On the issue of Land Compensation he made it clear that Our Constitution binds us to compensation in respect to improvements effected on the land before acquisition. This will be done as and when resources are available.
He said the Land Audit Report is expected to help return order in issues to do with the land. Where possible, some of those still in need of land will be considered thereafter.
In view of the centrality of agriculture as a key sector in stimulating the modernization and industrialization of our economy; he said his administration is now focusing on unlocking value from the land and ensuring maximum productivity. Foremost in this regard, is the need to provide security of tenure, facilitate access to capital for farmers and generate sufficient raw materials for the revival and growth of the industrial sector.
The negative impact of climate change entails that Zimbabwe undertakes adaptive responses that will enhance our resilience. As a result of this year’s drought, considerable quantities of grain in our Strategic Grain Reserves will be availed so that none of our people die from hunger. He said he urged all our community leaders and Members of Parliament to avail information about those communities in critical need of assistance.
He made it apparently clear that Government is always grateful to the United Nations Country Team in Zimbabwe and other international partners, for their timely interventions to mitigate the impact of the drought. In the medium to long term, Government is quickening dam and weir construction, the repair of breached dams and the de-siltation of dams and rivers.
Irrigation development around under-utilized water bodies such as Tugwi-Mukosi Lake, will gather momentum. DDF and local authorities will continue to be provided with additional rigs to accelerate borehole drilling so that people do not have to walk long distances to fetch water.
To address the challenges besetting the livestock sub-sector, Government is increasing financial support towards the procurement of essential vaccines against high impact diseases. In addition, over sixty veterinary doctors have been deployed countrywide.
The resuscitation of the Cold Storage Company (CSC) is now on track. Productivity on ARDA farms will continue to be increased with subsidiary focus on value addition.
The mining sector is a major conduit for investment inflows and a promising source of employment creation. A number of multi- million dollar mining investments are under way in most parts of the country’s provinces.
These include, mining projects such as the Prospect’s Arcadia Lithium Project; Tsingshan Consolidated Mining Product; Karo Resources and the Great Dyke Investments Platinum Mining Project. Invidious Energy Project in Muzarabani is increasingly becoming promising. Such investments will help in the economic empowerment of many communities throughout the country and also result in the expansion of our road, rail, communication, energy and housing infrastructure.
He applauded small scale miners who are making meaningful contributions to the country’s revenue inflows.
A National Diamond Policy is now in place and will see the transparent and accountable exploration, value addition and marketing of the country’s diamonds. ALROSA and AFEC will partner Government to bring about optimum benefits, world class systems, technology and skills into this sub-sector.
President Mnangagwa said in line with the Independence theme of “Embracing Devolution, for Vision 2030”, and in the spirit of our long held position on indeginization and economic empowerment; communities must benefit from the natural resource endowments in their localities.
The tourism and hospitality sector continues on an upward growth trajectory, recording total arrivals in 2018, which surpass the highest figures in 1999. As commendation for this development, international players have named Zimbabwe the “Sustainable Tourism Destination for 2019” and ranked Zimbabwe at number 3 of “Must Visit Destinations” in the world.
The initial batch of Innovation, Incubation Hubs within State Universities have been set up to help modernize and leap frog our economic development. This initiative will be complemented by the construction of industrial parks in each province.
Her also revealed of the resuscitation of the apprenticeship programme to train technicians and artisans at Polytechnic Colleges that will be capacitated to produce technical skills for our growing economy.
Government is in the process of formulating a Renewable Energy Policy, to facilitate the development of a diverse portfolio of renewable and clean energy solutions. He also urged people to embrace clean energy products.
In the meantime, work towards implementation of the Batoka Hydro Electric Plant is now at the Environmental Impact Assessment stage. Construction work at the Hwange 7 and 8 Expansion Project has begun, creating thousands of jobs and will see an addition of 600MW into the national grid upon completion.
The Rural Electrification Programme has resumed in enerst since 2018.
These efforts in the energy sector will ultimately increase our national energy output; facilitate the growth of our manufacturing sector; propel industrialization of the economy as well as ensure the growth of rural industry systems.
In our quest to position the country as a transportation and communication hub, given its central location in the sub-region; Government is implementing projects to enhance the country’s connectivity by road, rail and air transport routes. The dualisation of the Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu Road; the Harare-Bulawayo Road and Harare-Mutare Road is gaining traction.
We continue to engage possible investors for the dualisation of the Beitbridge-Bulawayo-Victoria Falls-Kazungula Highway. The general rehabilitation of roads has seen more visible results on both city and country roads. To enhance trade facilitation, a One Stop Shop Border Post will be established in Victoria Falls and another at the Beitbridge Border Post. Meanwhile, the modernization and upgrading of the Beitbridge Border Post is now proceeding in earnest.
The commuting public has been at the mercy of errant kombi operators for a long time. Government has now stepped in to alleviate the plight of the commuters through the reintroduction of buses under the banner of ZUPCO. Government is increasing the ZUPCO fleet so that affordable bus services are extended to all areas, especially in rural areas.
My Government awaits the comprehensive report of the Commission of Enquiry on the sale of State Land which will see the reorganization of the current unplanned settlements so that the people have acceptable habitations. Urban renewal projects have began in Harare, Bulawayo, Mutare, Masvingo and other urban Centre that had become dilapidated.
The construction of the New Parliament Building is fast taking shape. The rehabilitation, construction and modernization of our courts is ongoing and will enhance more convenient and accessible delivery of justice.
In the housing development sector, the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) is constructing housing units as part of efforts to reduce the national housing backlog. Some private financial institutions have partnered Government in the construction of student accommodation and learning facilities at state Universities.
The new administration will make sure that no child has to walk more than 5kms to a primary school. We, will, thus, quicken the construction of more schools, particularly in marginalized areas such as parts of Matabeleland and Mashonaland Central Provinces.
E-Learning and the learning of science subjects in schools across the country is being promoted.
He called upon the service providers in the ICT industry to make the cost of bandwidth more affordable to institutions in the education sector.
He said the health of the people was a critical indicator of their quality of life. Government is making steady progress in revamping the health delivery system. He said he will accelerate the ongoing negotiations with stakeholders to guarantee adequate provision of affordable medicines and medical supplies in our hospitals.
He said he wished to thank the nation for embracing the monthly nation clean up campaign that has picked popularity across the nation.
Her implored Local authorities and the corporate sector to adhere to safe disposal of all waste and the provision of clean water and functioning sewer reticulation systems, to prevent disease outbreaks in our communities.
Her said Sport, Arts and Culture not only promote health and well- being but have increasingly become a source of livelihood for many people. A more coordinated approach must be accelerated to grow the sector, improve governance and end piracy.
He took the opportunity to congratulate our national soccer, cricket and other teams for the successes they scored in the immediate past and encouraged them to work harder for future glory and in defense of our national brand.
He said youths and women are an important constituency in the country’s socio-economic development agenda. To this end, a dynamic training programme was rolled out in 2018 to provide youths with appropriate technical and entrepreneurial skills. This process is being complemented by the entrepreneurship development programme under the India-Africa Incubation Center, which will be rolled out to all the country’s ten provinces.
The Zimbabwe Women’s Micro- Finance Bank and Empower Bank must now open branches in all provinces to be closer to traditionally marginalized beneficiaries. Government will monitor the number of loans issued and quality of businesses supported to empower women, the youth and veterans of our liberation struggle.
SMEs are important to the development of our economy. As such over and above meeting the demands of the local markets, sustainable economic growth will only be achieved through export-led production by SMEs.
The distribution of grain to food insecure households, inclusive of those in urban areas, is underway.
Political reforms and the entrenchment of democratic tenets, the rule of law, good governance and an orderly society remain a priority to the new administration.
Government is presently facilitating the re- equipping and re- training of the police service to make the force more equipped to deal with present day policing requirements.
Government is rolling out the Automated Fingerprints Identification System across the country for the speedy identification of offenders and completion of criminal investigations. The police and other partners are also installing the Electronic Traffic Management System, which is expected to help reduce road carnage.
A Ministerial Taskforce has been constituted to spearhead the process of implementing the broad recommendations of both the Election Observer Missions and the Motlanthe Commission Report.
The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) is being reconstituted. To this end, Corruption in whatever form and by whosoever, will not be condoned. We must all individually and collectively prevent, report and fight corruption wherever it occurs.
The philosophy that “Zimbabwe is Open for Business” should reflect in the manner all public institutions are managed.
The restructuring of some key entities such as ZESA, GMB and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) has begun.
The fifty nine approved projects under the newly established Zimbabwe Investment Development Authority is testimony of the successful implementation of the ease of doing business reforms.
On foreign relations, the Engagement and Re-engagement Policy with all countries in the international community, based on mutual respect, is progressing well. Various strategic engagements have resulted in the signing of numerous bilateral co-operation agreements and concrete investments.
The president said government calls for the unconditional removal of the illegal and unjustified economic sanctions imposed on the republic so that the nation can realize its full development potential, free from any hindrances.
He ended his speech with these words,
“Together, we are building a new economy. We are building a new future, we are building a new Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe shall surely rise again. We are moving on, our future is bright. Forward ever- backward never! Our prosperity is certain!”
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