Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe opens Parliament, says fo­cus on eco­nomic re­vival

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Lloyd Gumbo

PRES­I­DENT Mu­gabe says the Govern­ment is im­ple­ment­ing a num­ber of ini­tia­tives to im­prove the coun­try’s eco­nomic for­tunes on the back of bit­ing chal­lenges that it has faced in var­i­ous sec­tors.

The Pres­i­dent said this when he of­fi­cially opened the Fourth Ses­sion of the Eighth Parliament in Harare yes­ter­day.

“Our econ­omy faces a num­ber of chal­lenges, which in­clude the sub­dued ag­gre­gate de­mand, liq­uid­ity con­straints, high in­ter­est rates, sub­dued for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment and lim­ited fis­cal space,” said Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe.

“This, too, is fur­ther com­pounded by low rev­enue col­lec­tions aris­ing from de­pressed pro­duc­tion, ram­pant rev­enue leak­ages, as well as poor min­eral com­mod­ity prices on the global mar­ket.

“As a con­se­quence, the econ­omy reg­is­tered a grad­ual de­cline, with the es­ti­mated growth rate for 2016 now pro­jected at 1.2 per­cent.”

But Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe said in the con­text of ZimAs­set, the Govern­ment was im­ple­ment­ing a num­ber of ini­tia­tives to ad­dress the pre­vail­ing eco­nomic chal­lenges.

“For in­stance, it has em­barked on the Ease of Do­ing Busi­ness Re­forms with the ob­jec­tive of im­prov­ing the local busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment that stim­u­lates in­vest­ment in­flows.

“In line with this thrust, a new Com­pa­nies Act, which will sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce regis­tra­tion de­lays and fa­cil­i­tate the smooth op­er­a­tion of new busi­nesses, will be tabled for con­sid­er­a­tion by Parliament,” said the Pres­i­dent.

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe said it was pleas­ing that gold de­liv­er­ies to Fidelity Prin­ters and Re­finer­ies were in­creas­ing.

He said a jew­ellery man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pany owned by the Cen­tral Bank, Aurex, was now on the re­cov­ery path.

“Even though min­ing re­mains a lead­ing source of ex­port earn­ings for our econ­omy, there is still need to max­imise the sec­tor’s earn­ings through en­cour­ag­ing local value ad­di­tion and ben­e­fi­ci­a­tion as well as the ef­fec­tive ex­ploita­tion of min­eral claims,” Cde Mu­gabe said.

He said Govern­ment was also com­mit­ted to boost power gen­er­a­tion in the en­ergy sec­tor as he ex­pressed his sat­is­fac­tion with the progress at the Kariba South Power ex­pan­sion project that was now 60 per­cent com­plete.

The project will add 300 megawatts to the na­tional grid by March 2018 with the first 150MW ex­pected to be ready by De­cem­ber next year. The Pres­i­dent said an agreement on the fund­ing of the Hwange Ther­mal Power sta­tion ex­pan­sion project was ex­pected be­fore year end, which would pave way for the com­mence­ment of ac­tual work in the first quar­ter of next year.

“For this rea­son, Govern­ment has come up with the Dema Diesel Power gen­er­at­ing plant. Work is also un­der­way to es­tab­lish a nat­u­ral gas pow­ered elec­tric­ity gen­er­at­ing plant and three 100MW so­lar power gen­er­at­ing plants.

“The min­istry is in the process of craft­ing for pre­sen­ta­tion to Parliament, the Re­new­able En­ergy Policy and an In­de­pen­dent Power Pro­duc­ers (IPPs) Frame­work, which should help to en­hance pri­vate sec­tor in­vest­ment in the en­ergy sec­tor,” said Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe.

He said the coun­try still faced nu­mer­ous chal­lenges in the man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor, a chal­lenge that mil­i­tated against Zim­babwe’s ca­pac­ity to com­pete in the re­gional and global mar­ket place.

Some of the chal­lenges in­cluded the dump­ing of cheap im­ports in the coun­try, re­liance on ob­so­lete equip­ment, high cost of util­i­ties and lack of ac­cess to cheaper lines of credit.

In the trans­port sec­tor, Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe said the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of the Beit­bridge-Harare-Chirundu high­way was ex­pected to com­mence soon, a de­vel­op­ment that would make Zim­babwe the re­gion’s trans­port hub.

He im­plored Parliament to ex­pe­dite the nec­es­sary loan ap­provals and rat­i­fi­ca­tion pro­cesses to bring the project to fruition.

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe said a re­form of the State en­ter­prises re­mained a crit­i­cal lever in the coun­try’s eco­nomic turn­around process.

“I note, with sat­is­fac­tion, that ARDA is now on a firm re­cov­ery path, thanks to its joint ven­ture part­ner­ship with some local pri­vate sec­tor play­ers.

“Govern­ment re­cently ap­proved a turn­around plan for the Cold Stor­age Com­pany as part of the pro­gramme to re­vive the coun­try’s beef in­dus­try,” he said.

The Pres­i­dent added that Govern­ment would also launch the 2016-2026 Science, Tech­nol­ogy, En­gi­neer­ing and Math­e­mat­ics (STEM) Policy Strat­egy to sup­port the coun­try’s quest for in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion and mod­erni­sa­tion within the frame­work of the African Union Agenda 2063.

He said Govern­ment was also com­mit­ted to the pro­vi­sion of a con­ducive work­ing en­vi­ron­ment for the leg­is­la­ture in spite of the pre­vail­ing re­source con­straints.

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe said the con­struc­tion of the new Parliament build­ing through a Chi­nese grant in Mt Ham­p­den was now un­der im­ple­men­ta­tion.

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe

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