‘Land titles good for investment, economy’

Professor Myerson

Professor Myerson

Business Reporter
Land titles to the beneficiaries of the land redistribution programme will encourage investment and enhance economic activity in the country, a Nobel Prize winning economist has said.
United States of America economist Professor Roger Bruce Myerson, who shared, with Leonid Hurwicz and Eric S. Maskin, the 2007 for Economics for his work on mechanism design theory said due to the difficult history the country had, it required a major redistribution but there was need to bring finality to the issue by giving the new farmers title to the land.

“Now that the leadership said the redistribution is over; people should be given title to the land  to encourage investment. This is economically important,” Professor Myerson said.

He was speaking to The Herald Business after delivering a lecture on Democratic Decentralisation and Economic Development hosted by Old Mutual at the University of Zimbabwe on Friday.

Early this month President Mugabe launched A1 settlement permits which ensure that farmers have security of tenure. The permits can be used as collateral.
The permits are not transferable and bear a map of the plot allocated and details of the beneficiaries and their spouses, even in cases of polygamy.

They state that each farmer is entitled to six hectares of arable land and access to communal grazing land.
President Mugabe said the permits celebrate the emancipation and empowerment of local Zimbabweans.

“Following the successful implementation of our land reform programme, today’s event is appropriately akin to putting the icing on the cake,” President Mugabe said.
President Mugabe said the permits would be issued to only those who were productive and had infrastructural developments on their plots.

Professor Myerson said the potential that the country possesses will be realised.
“In our living memory this country has had a terrible struggle and terrible difficulties but I believe the enormous potential the country has will be realised.
“In a decade or two I think I will back and say this country was in a difficult situation,” said Prof Myerson.

Zimbabwe boasts vast natural resources that are in abundance and these include rich mineral deposits, arable tracks of land, flora and fauna, abundant sunlight and water.

The economic blueprint, Zim Asset identifies the importance of land security as key to food security and nutrition cluster.
The cluster envisages the setting up of an Agribank concessionary funding facility for A2 farmers; putting in place a livestock drought mitigation programme for the drier regions of the country and encouraging the establishment of the contract farming programme.

Prof Myerson also commended the country for the new Constitution which he said is an important development.
The Government is in the process of realigning a plethora of laws to the new Constitution.

“I think it’s very important that this country has a new Constitution and working out what the new Constitution will mean,” said Prof Myerson.
In his public lecture, Prof Myerson said the key to democratic development may be to increase the supply of leaders with reputations for spending public funds responsibly to provide public services and not just to give jobs to their supporters.

He said there must be accountability mechanism for development to spread throughout the country.
“This accounting should be to the local population who must be able to learn what their leaders have spent and what this spending has achieved,” said Prof Myerson.
“For this goal, the essential measure of success for any development project is how it enhances the reputations of the political leaders who direct it.

“Outputs of public goods count towards this political end.
All public services should be directed by indigenous leaders, but they should include both national and autonomous local leaders,” he said.

He said foreign donors should insist on transparent public accounting for all funds, both by the donors and by the national finance ministry.

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