Zimbabweans from all walks of life are positive about their prospects in the New Year as they point out things that need to be addressed to make 2015 a success. In separate interviews this week, representatives from business, political parties, religious circles and citizens in general expressed hope that this year would be better than 2014.
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president Mr Charles Msipa said prospects for 2015 were bright given that Government was already in the process of addressing some of industry’s concerns.
He said major areas that needed to be addressed include labour costs, infrastructure development and regulatory issues.
“The good thing about those three areas is that as you may recall the Minister of Industry and Commerce (Mike Bimha) on December 15, 2014 advised us that Cabinet had approved recommendations to address these major cost drivers including transforming the National Incomes and Pricing Commission into the National Competitiveness Commission.
“Government has committed to address these constraints in the first half of 2015. So we have every reason to be positive.”
Mr Msipa said the only worry was about things that Zimbabwe was not in control of, like giving value to the South African rand against the US dollar so that exports could be competitively priced against imports.
He said the status quo had made South African imports cheaper than exports thereby affecting the country’s trade.
Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce president Mr Hlanganiso Matangaidze said they were positive that 2015 would be a better year for the country.
“We anticipate better things in 2015 because now we seem to be reading from the same page with Government. The Minister of Industry and Commerce was recently talking about efforts to restore competitiveness by reducing the cost of doing business.
“We really look forward to this new approach from Government. So we are hoping for the best. It appears they have done adequate research as they now understand our concerns as business,” said Mr Matangaidze.
Consumer Council of Zimbabwe chairperson Mr Philip Bvumbe said they looked forward to the conclusion of the Consumer Bill in the first quarter of 2015.
“We are hoping that once the Act comes into effect, there would be various specialised consumer groups who will form a union from all sectors be it in telecommunications sector, services or any other sector,” he said.
Vice President of the Association of Evangelical in Africa and senior Pastor of Word of life International Dr Goodwill Shana said the church expected a unified Government.
“Peace should prevail and in that peace there should be a consultative nation building process which includes all stakeholders so that we can build the Zimbabwe we want,” he said.
“We expect to see a momentum towards peace in the nation in the areas of economy. We need urgent attention in the economy because a lot of people are suffering. It affects the quality of life in communities and even in churches.”
Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe (ACCZ) Archbishop Johannes Ndanga said political leaders should fulfil their promises and work towards the implementation of Zim-Asset.
“We should be united as the church as well as the nation. We need our political leaders to implement electoral promises. The Zim-Asset blueprint should not be a vocabulary document, but should reach the ordinary populace,” he said.
Tehillar Christian Network founder Reverend Sam Malunga urged Zimbabweans to prioritise the success of Zim-Asset as they get into the New Year.
“Politicians must guard against being defocused and being diverted from fulfilling their mandate to the people by negative elements funded by the West bent on destabilising our hard won independence.
“The success of Zim-Asset does not only depend on Government, but on every Zimbabwean and should be tackled in concerted effort.
Rev Malunga said Zimbabwe under the leadership of President Mugabe was a model to the world to guard their independence and sovereignty jealously against imperialists and detractors.
He said Zimbabweans across the political divide had a moral obligation to practise politics of progress against politics of retrogression common in Third World countries characterised by infiltrations.
Zanu-PF deputy spokesperson Cde Monica Mutsvangwa said the revolutionary party would direct Government to accelerate implementation of Zim-Asset especially to improve Foreign Direct Investment.
“This is the only way Government can effectively address the economic challenges like unemployment through value addition and beneficiation of our resources and infrastructure development,” said Cde Mutsvangwa, who is also Deputy Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services.
“The year 2015 is the first year ever His Excellency and Zanu-PF have enjoyed unfettered power. This is courtesy of July 31, 2013 clean electoral sweep that dealt a mortal blow to the scourge of compromised intra-party opposition.
“Then the 6th Zanu-PF National People’s Congress excised affected internal reactionaries pursuing treacherous agendas.
“His Excellency and the party are now free to chart an independent path of national economic development that can deliver on the long cherished expectations of the populace while giving hope to an educated and energetic youthful generation.”
She said economic enablers among them water and electricity should be put in place for Zim-Asset to succeed to meet the projected 6.1 percent economic growth.
Added Cde Mutsvangwa: “We have an enviable portfolio of national assets consisting of a great climate, good farm land, enviable mineral deposits, exciting tourist resources.
“All we now need is to apply our invaluable human resource base that sees us already top in Africa. And these assets will be made to sweat sweet prosperity and add to the renaissance of a new Africa.
“That way we deliver on the Zim-Asset promise of full employment and an ever growing standard of living. That goal is within imminent grasp. So 2015 is a watershed year.”
But MDC formations were pessimistic.
MDC-T spokesperson Mr Obert Gutu said: “In 2015, we foresee the economy further collapsing and more and more people being rendered destitute until such a time that the Zimbabwean political crisis is resolved.
His MDC counterpart Mr Jacob Mafume said: “The next year (this year) should be about ideas on how to solve the economic problems, and not positions. Zanu-PF seems to be about fighting each other and not dealing with the people’s problems.
“We need to renew our ideas on solving the Zimbabwean crisis. We have to work together and do things right as a nation to bring about lasting solutions”
A Hillside resident, Mr Denis Makuku, said: “Our economy is certainly going to move to a reasonable growth with the total removal of sanctions by the European Union.
“We have already started witnessing the Fishmongers complementing Government programmes and giving direct funding.”
Chitungwiza resident Mr Takaidza Takaidza said he was hopeful of a prosperous 2015 as they were promised a reduction of prices and a better agricultural season.