‘Govt has focussed on transformative areas’

05 Aug, 2022 - 00:08 0 Views
‘Govt has focussed on transformative areas’ Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube

The Herald

Oliver Kazunga-Senior Business Reporter

THE New Dispensation has in the last four years focused on the transformative agenda in different sectors riding on national budgets to bring socio-economic development across the country, a Cabinet Minister said yesterday.

The Second Republic, which is led by President Mnangagwa came into being in November 2017 and has vowed to rejuvenate the economy after close to 20 years of economic decay.

It is in this light that the New Dispensation has adopted policies such as the “Zimbabwe is open for business”, the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) and also embarked on an international re-engagement offensive after years of isolation from the global arena.

As part of a re-building programme, the Second Republic has also resorted to using internally generated resources to fund infrastructural development projects in the country.

Speaking at the breakfast meeting organised by one of the country’s think tanks, the Zimbabwe Institute of Strategic Thinkers (Zist) in Harare, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube said: “What we have invested in infrastructure is remarkable, using our own resources to build own infrastructure, build dams and other infrastructure.

“We can look at the Beitbridge-Harare road by year-end. We will be close to completion of that road, again we are continuing with that project from Harare-Chirundu.

“The infrastructural development projects have also been implemented using Public-Private Partnerships to re-do the roads such as the Beitbridge-Bulawayo-Victoria Falls.”

He said there are other destinations in the country connecting with major trunk roads as well as numerous smaller roads in some rural parts of Zimbabwe where transformation was taking place through road network rehabilitation.

“We also have roads such as Kwekwe-Nkayi-Lupane linking Victoria Falls and that’s a road that can be improved using PPP very easily because it will cut out another 200kilometres.

“If you are a driver from Harare to Vic Falls that will cut you another 200km, so why wouldn’t you use it then it becomes viable.

“Sometimes a road is not used because it is bad, the moment you repair it and tar it, it creates its own demand. If you take the road from Harare to Kanyemba, that road will also create its own demand because there is a huge national park there, it’s a great place for tourism totally unexplored,” said Prof Ncube, adding that these were some of the transformation that the 2022 national budget and the supplementary budget is supporting.

Last week, the Treasury chief presented the 2022 mid-term national budget and through a supplementary budget, which is his first since he came into office in 2018, is seeking the required permission to raise spending by $968 billion, almost double the original estimates, to cover rising costs resulting from high inflation.

On water infrastructure development, Prof Ncube said dams such as Marovanyati in Buhera in Manicaland province had been completed while efforts to draw water from Gwayi-Shangani to Bulawayo as well as creating a greenbelt in Matabeleland North were underway.

“Sometimes when you talk about the exchange rate, we forget about the real micro-economy and the transformation that is taking place.

“On dams, we completed Marovanyati Dam. It (Marovanyati Dam) is in Buhera and that area is relatively dry, but now there is water,” said Prof Ncube.

President Mnangagwa commissioned Marovanyati Dam in November 2020 and the investment has already improved water supply to industries and agriculture has positively impacted on all sectors of the economy.

“So, the next phase is we are introducing an irrigation system to convey that water from the dam onto the land and we grow wheat or whatever that needs to be grown as well as generate a little bit of power.

“A few years ago, we completed Tokwe Mukosi Dam and the next step is to build a 15 MW power plant and that is transformation.

“Look at the Gwayi-Shangani Dam transformation that has been on that Mabale area in Matabeleland North, in which we will create a green belt all the way to Bulawayo,” he said.

“And that’s not all we have done for Bulawayo through transformation of water infrastructure.

“We drilled very deep boreholes in the Nyamandlovu Aquifer area. Right now Bulawayo is receiving 153 megalitres of water per day from the aquifer and that is transformation coming out of the budgetary support.”

In Harare, there were new sources of water infrastructure such as the Kunzvi and Machekeranwa dams.

Such dams can provide water to Marondera and Harare East.

On the mining front, there were various projects like the Dinson Iron and Steel Company’s project in Manhize, which the Government has accorded a national project status.

Upon completion, the US$1 billion project whose first blast furnace is expected to be switched on by September next year will be the largest integrated steel plant in Africa.

It is hoped that the plant will produce 1,2 million tonnes of steel annually and create over 10 000 jobs directly while at least 50 000 others across the downstream.

Dinson Iron and Steel Company is a subsidiary of Tsingshan Holdings, the world’s largest stainless steel producer.

“So, we are seeing transformation everywhere, just look at the education sector. Every university there is an innovation hub,” said Prof Ncube.

Turning to agriculture, he said the Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme, which is also climate proofing, is a productive social protection initiative meant to transform the lives of people where the Government has availed inputs to millions of smallholder farmers countrywide to enhance food security.

The Government was supporting the scheme through resources from the national budget.

“In terms of commercial agriculture, again we have had transformation in terms of the funding of agriculture. It used to be 100 percent funded by Treasury, and budget deficit was at over 11 percent of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and now we are down to sustainable levels of the GDP…we came up with a more sustainable model for financing the sector by crowding in the private sector and we will do more going forward,” he said.

In an interview, Zimbabwe Economics Society vice president Mr Misheck Ugaro said what Prof Ncube was saying were facts.

“He was quite honest and it’s a fact as you know that as a country we are not receiving any money from the International Monetary Fund, International Finance Corporation and the World Bank because of sanctions and external debt that the country has.

“Everything in terms of the infrastructural development projects that we are implementing, they are being funded using internally generated resources and this is good for the country as we are all seeing the results,” he said.

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