Balancing economics versus politics, Zim’s major undoing

…as ED Mnangagwa explains country’s economic recovery plan

ZwNews Chief Correspondent

The President of Zimbabwe Emmerson Mnangagwa has outlined a well thought economic discourse to be taken by the country in order to turnaround its fortunes, in line to meet the envisaged vision 2030, of being a middle income financial economy.

In his initial column, published by the state run weekly spread (The Sunday Mail) titled ‘Economic recovery: What needs to be done,’ the President articulated a well founded economic plan; that would if harnessed, see the country at another level.

Mnangagwa was quick to point out the painful but necessary course of action, calling for belts tightening measures, for both leaders and ordinary citizenry alike. He said to this, no one is immune to the sacrifices needed to stabilise the economy.

He spoke of how the country’s revenues are expected to rise, as a result of the recently introduced measures such as the 2 per cent tax, in collaboration with the performance of the minerals revenues, stating that gold has exceeded expectations 28 tonnes output having been recorded by end of September this year; against 2017’s annual output of 24 tonnes. He said diamonds output is also expected to out-perform last years’ production by 1.2 million from 1.8 to 3 million.

Banking on the about projections, and not forgetting the agricultural sector that he said have performed well to make the country food secure, Mnangagwa said these positives, and envisaged revenue inflows will be complimented with country’s new found appetite to reduce government expenditure, particularly the wage bill which has for years been chewing up more than 80 per cent of state revenue.

He pointed out the current lean cabinet and the retiring of the old horses was one of the measures on wage bill cutting, starting from the top.

Some analysts believe, the measures out-lined by the President, is what the doctor had prescribed, is what the country badly needs, more so with all the pointers in mining, agriculture among others indicating signs of recovery.

Anyway, talking doesn’t cook rice; so says a Chinese proverb. Will he summon the political will needed for effective implementation? Others may ask.

Political commentator Elder Mabhunu, says while the President was spot on, in articulating the course to be taken, he should sum up his political will when it comes to the drawing of the sweat, tears, and blood of implementation.

He says, the country has never been known for lacking ideal economic blue-prints, but the major undoing had been the implementation part.

“The President’s words should be consistent with his actions. His calls for cutting government expenditure should be converted into practical actions, not mere speaking.

“The President spoke of the so-called trimmed cabinet, as a cost cutting measure, but it is worrying that we hear reports that the re-assigned ‘dead wood’ are on government payroll,” he says.

However, the ruling party is on record vehemently denying the retired former cabinet ministers are on government payroll, despite the party being known for diverting state funds to foot party bills.

Mabhunu also points out how the deployment of the ‘tired horses’ at the ruling party’s head-quarters to oversight on the new cabinet is recipe for distortions in government business. He gave example of the recent discord regarding the 2 per cent tax, when Obert Mpofu alleged that Minister of Finance and Economic Development Mthuli Ncube, acted out side board on the tax issue, saying he had not consulted the party.

Mpofu’s sentiments caused discord and confusion with some members of the ruling party claiming the minister erred, while some including Mnangagwa himself stood by Ncube, in support of the 2 per cent tax.

Mabhunu maintains that the measures out-lined by Mnangagwa no matter how good they would be, if not followed by the pains of implementation will count to nil. “Remember his calls for non-tolerance to corruption: How many big guns have been investigated, or prosecuted for graft? Saying is one thing, and doing is the other. Only time will tell,” he says.




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