By Elvis Dzvene
First and foremost what is it that we don’t have? Is it a begging culture that is in us that we can’t do without? We have plenty of suitable land for commercial purpose, minerals, recreational resources, we have academics, policy makers, and we have technical expertise so if I may ask what our problem is?
One thing about poverty is that it is not selective. It strikes everyone across the political divide. What is vital is let’s sit down, less talking, be focused and let’s put strong measures that can save Zimbabwe from unpalatable suffering.
We need a sound industrial and investment policies to bring back Zimbabwe on track. I am always go against the idea of blaming sanctions and moving around the world with a begging bowl yet we have plenty of resources needed to build our nation. We are the ones to blame.
Increase level of production, Economy is all about production. We must produce and we must employ. As long as people are in streets pavements selling undergarments, we can’t talk of the economy. We have and must produce. We have low levels of production. It is important, whatever little we are getting must be redirected into the mainstream economy. We have at least five critical sectors of the end namely agriculture, mining, tourism, construction industry, infrastructure development and health sector. We have massive potential in the above named sectors. What have we done about it? Agriculture and mining can sustain our nation before we can even talk of borrowing. Let’s put our Zimbabwe in order. Let’s arrest corruption, let’s deal decisively with Governance issues and let’s put proper policies and address all inconsistencies.
Agricultural sector, There are a lot of people with more than one farm. There is need for one man one farm. If this is not maintained then we are far from solving our problems. Why is it there are many individuals with multiple farms? We need to turn Zimbabwe into a green and horticulture zone. Zimbabwe must be a hub of economic growth within SADC region. I would suggest, minister of Agriculture must work closely with Finance ministry. First and foremost, abolish command Agriculture and make use of proper Government channels to curb financial leakages and creating looting facility. Most farmers have financial problems because they don’t have proper land ownership (title deeds). How then can farmers borrow from local financial institutions without proper papers? This is what the Government of the day must address.
Mining sector, some weeks ago I read that Government is gazetting a diamond policy to lure investors. For me I would recommend to come up with a mining policy which can discourse the whole sector.
Government is losing billions of dollars through leakages in the mining sector. We are the second largest producer of platinum in the world, yet on growth rankings we are second from last. So what is our major problem? Leakages and inconsistency in policy framework.
Most of the mining companies are looting and avoiding tax. Make an inventory and see how many mining companies are paying tax? You will be shocked to find out that only 37% are remitting tax to the Government. So what can be done? Come up with a board which can look into advisory council for the Minister of Finance or task-force which can have the following departments such as development, policy framework, Finance, production, engineering, banking, security and Technology etc. This will assist to ward off such Crisis.
Tourism sector is growing immensely by more than 6 percent. Zimbabwe has potential in this sector. There is need for a proper tourism sector which can attract investment in Zimbabwe. Get the work done on the ground by promotion of rule of Law. No investor would want to visit any country with human rights issues.
There has been great improvement on the human rights aspects far as tourism sector is concerned. No more police roadblocks which is major improvement.
We need development partners in this sector who can major in big projects such as recreational facilities such as game parks, hotels and other lucrative projects that can contribute towards our Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). How can we beg when we have Kariba resort area, Hwange, Vic falls and Nyanga ruins just to name a few? Let’s implement the game on the ground.
Industrialisation, let’s assume we get 10 billion from multilateral lenders today, in the next two weeks we will have nothing in the pocket why? What is our major problem? We are not producing anything meaningful for the mainstream economy. Zimbabweans are unemployed.
So it will be consumed within a fortnight. Simple arithmetic’s, provide jobs for the people. Of any kind the little you get forward it into the mainstream economy. Our big challenge we have is an increase in the level of imports and decrease in exports and this has affected the currency and exchange rate together with the balance of payments. Our balance of payments is in shambolic state. We must produce effectively. The industry is dead and it needs resuscitation. We need capital injection in the industry, get people employed and open lines of credit.
In conclusion, The government should also move with speed to operationalize the Special Economic Zones with a specific mandate to boost the country’s export and production capacity so as to equip the economy with the much needed foreign currency that helps the market approximate to a more stable pricing regime free of foreign exchange premiums that come as a result of shortages.