Rope in locals to revive Zisco, Mudenda urges
Zones legislation was also expected to have a huge bearing in enhancing the investment climate in the country going forward.
“The Special Economic Zones Bill has been signed into law by His Excellency, the President. As part of the implementation of the Special Economic Zones concept, Treasury will be outlining a package of tax incentives through the 2017 national budget meant to stimulate the economy,” said Chinamasa.
Guided by the above highlighted assumptions, the minister hoped for an improved 2017 macro-economic framework, which is envisaged to yield a better economy.
In his projections, the economy would grow by 4.8 percent in 2017 from the subdued 2.7 percent growth projection for this year. The minister said revenues of about $4 billion, which represent 26 percent of GDP, are to be generated.
This year’s budget has not performed well so far largely due to reduced agriculture production in the last season as a result of El-Nino induced drought, falling commodity prices and firming of the greenback against regional currencies.
Minister Chinamasa, however, expressed concern over the continued negative trade. He reported that exports for the period January to September stood at $1.766 billion against imports of $3.778 billion, giving a trade deficit of $2.013 billion.
“To reduce this trade deficit, the Government will continue to implement import substitution and restrictions on the importation of non-essentials so as to preserve the stock of our foreign currency in the country. Such measures include the Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016,” he said.
As such, the minister said, the 2017 budget will be geared to address the current economic challenges the economy is facing with focus on stimulating transformative economic development by enhancing the supply side in the productive sectors.
“Accordingly, a number of tax and other incentives will be part of the package in the 2017 budget to achieve this objective. The 2017 national budget will continue to be guided by Zim-Asset, the 10-Point Plan, the Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper launched on 26 September 2016 and other relevant sectoral policies,” he added. SPEAKER of Parliament Advocate Jacob Mudenda says Zimbabwe is able to raise the $50 million internally for the resuscitation of the country’s giant steel maker, Ziscosteel.
The Redcliff firm ceased operations at the height of inflation in 2008 when it faced acute financial constraints. Its re-opening has in recent years had many false starts, leaving about 3,500 workers stranded.
Delivering a keynote address at the 2017 prebudget seminar in Bulawayo yesterday, Adv Mudenda condemned the reliance on foreign investors and said the country should instead look from within itself for investors.
“We should work on the resuscitation of Ziscosteel and it is possible if we stop this dilly-dallying now and stop looking for external investors,” he said.
“$50million can put the company back on its feet again, and it has the potential to generate a monthly gross profit of $10 million and above.
“Undoubtedly, therefore, domestic resource mobilisation is the only sustainable option towards total socio-economic freedom. This ensures that we, as leaders, be accountable to our own citizens and taxpayers rather than to donors as is the case in most financially and externally dependent countries.”
The seminar is being held at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair Grounds under the theme, “Enhancing transformative economic development through domestic resource mobilisation and utilisation.”
More than 200 people who include legislators, ministers and interested stakeholders are attending the three-day seminar.
Adv Mudenda said the key to robust economic growth lies in domestic resource mobilisation where the money to finance local projects is generated by the country’s citizenry, part of which could boost the country’s fiscus.
He said despite spirited efforts by Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa to re-engage multi-lateral financial institutions with a view to clearing Zimbabwe’s arrears, it was increasingly unlikely that Zimbabwe would receive any meaningful external budgetary support.
Minister Chinamasa, who was also in attendance concurred, saying all Zimbabweans should join their hands to raise resources for such endeavours.
The minister said while estimates indicate that Ziscosteel needs about $300million, experts insist that with about $50 million, it is possible to revive the firm.
Efforts to revitalise the giant parastatal collapsed last year after the Indian-owned Essar Holdings developed cold feet in its proposed $750 million investment deal it signed with the Government in 2011.
Ziscosteel used to be one of the major contributors to the country’s GDP with a high employment capacity and downstream effect on the economy.—@ BiancaMlilo
Legislators follow proceedings at the 2017 pre-budget seminar in Bulawayo yesterday