Oliver Kazunga in Victoria Falls
THE 2018 fiscal policy statement should provide a sound investment framework to ensure success of Special Economic Zones (SEZS) and mobilisation of domestic resources to foster economic growth. Speaker of Parliament Advocate Jacob Mudenda said this yesterday while officially opening the parliamentary pre-budget seminar for legislators and Cabinet ministers here.
“Your submissions today should enunciate the need for a well-grounded economic investment framework that is predicated on the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) whose enabling legislation has been passed by Parliament. Parliament has to exercise intense oversight in order to ensure that the proposed SEZs are not white elephants but sound bedrock for local resource mobilisation emanating from accelerated investment therein,” said Mudenda.
Adv Mudenda said the gathering should come up with local resource mobilization strategies to guarantee Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in 2018 and narrowing budget deficit to four percent. He said 2018 fiscal year would be under immense spotlight as it was the final year in the implementation of Zim-Asset.
“As we take stock of the achievements made and challenges we have encountered, our people are expecting more localised solutions and interventions in order to consolidate the gains arising from the implementation of Zim-Asset,” said Adv Mudenda.
He also said the upcoming budget statement should address the debilitating issues of procrastination, indolence and inertia that has slowly become endemic and proving to be the biggest enemy in Zimbabwe’s bureaucracy apart from the scourge of corruption.
“The question is, more than a decade down the line where is the One Stop Investment Centre? Where is the Minerals Exploration Bill, which will enable the country to precisely know the worth of our vast mineral resources underground that could underpin a profound growth of our Sovereign Wealth Fund?
“Where is the evidence-based informal sector formalisation policy, which ought to encourage its growth and development? Where is the revised Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act reconfigured in line with the Presidential Policy Directive of 14th April 2016? We must kill the vices of procrastination, indolence and inertia if we are to positively respond to the questions I have just posed,” said Adv Mudenda.
He, however, said the upcoming fiscal policy statement presents an opportunity for a prudent and targeted response to the well documented socio-economic challenges facing the country.
The Speaker also spoke about the delinquencies of misplaced lending, narrow composition of exports, large quantities of money tied up in Real Time Gross Settlements balances and securities, and dwindling foreign assets among others. The gathering also noted with concern that Zimbabwe was receiving little Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) of around $300 million compared to other regional countries such as Mozambique and Zambia, which have been attracting in excess of $3billion and nearly $2 billion respectively since 2011.
“Against this background, our continued focus on domestic resource mobilisation thus remains relevant and timely since we are experiencing inadequate foreign direct investments. Parliament, working very closely with the executive, should come up with strategic policy and legal framework paradigm shifts attractive to foreign direct investors, albeit not ignoring domestic investments,” said Mudenda.
He called on the legislators to marshal innovative and creative ideas to enable Zimbabwe to affirm its resourcefulness. Therefore, he said it was imperative that the country’s policies and strategies be aligned to canvassing for a robust budget in the context of limited resources. The conference acknowledged the immense contribution and assistance received from cooperating partners who continue to assist Government through technical and financial assistance.