Cletus Mushanawani and Ivan Zhakata
As Zimbabweans welcome the New Year, there are essentially 10 points that should keep even the most sceptical citizen hopeful for a turnaround of economic fortunes.
The engagement and re-engagement programme initiated by Government since November 2017, is expected to result in the normalisation of relations with all countries of the world, paving the way for job creation as companies reopen.
There is an expectation that bank queues will be eliminated, while the exchange rate will stabilise.
Citizens want all political parties to engage in dialogue and pull in the same direction for the economy to improve.
In an interview yesterday, Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe (Emcoz) president Dr Israel Murefu said the Government should ensure that economic fundamentals were properly managed to reduce inflation, stabilise the exchange rate and ensure foreign currency availability.
“We also need to be productive as a nation, especially in agriculture, which is the mainstay of the economy.
In order to be able to produce on the farms and in other sectors for purposes of supplying our local industry and the export market, we need a solution around issues of energy especially electricity, fuel and water and ultimately sustainable funding of agriculture and other businesses,” he said.
“The availability of these four resources enables sustainable production in our factories provided the raw materials required for production are also available.
“If we are able to produce adequately and increase our capacity utilisation to anything above 70 percent on average, I think half of our problems would have been resolved.
The economic fundamentals I have mentioned above will, if favourable, create, an enabling environment for production to be sustained and for jobs to be created as demand for labour increases.”
Dr Murefu called for collaboration in policy formulation between the Government, organised business and labour and civic society, for the crafting of policies that are sensitive and responsive to the needs and expectations of the social partners.
This will do away with the blame game because everyone will have a chance to influence policy.
“This is why as Emcoz we are pushing for traction at the TNF (Tripartite Negotiating Forum) which is the platform for social dialogue”.
Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) chief executive officer Mr Christopher Mugaga called for “responsible citizenship” premised on accountability and responsibility.
He said President Mnangagwa and MDC-Alliance leader Mr Nelson Chamisa should talk for the benefit of the nation.
“Electricity supplies should also improve.
We must not get power on Christmas Day and New Year only,” he said.
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) president Mr Henry Ruzvidzo said in the New Year, it is critical to stabilise the macro-economic environment and address supply
constraints for electricity and fuel.
“The focus on production announced in the fiscal policy will need to be complemented by complementary Monetary Policy measures.
“The resumption of work on the ease of doing business policy in 2019 is welcome and must be accelerated in 2020,” said Mr Ruzvidzo.
Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) executive director Mr Paul Zakariya said: “We need to employ smart agriculture because it is now true that there will be little rainfall unlike in the previous years so we need to adopt smart farming methods.
“Experts have said there will be no rainfall for quite some time, so we need to invest in irrigation and smart agricultural practices.
We need to focus on tolerant grains like small grains because they do not need too much water.”
That habit of getting used to maize, Mr Zakariya said, will soon be a thing of the past because the whole discourse of farming should change.
“We need to improve in water harvesting techniques, we need to transform the planning purposes otherwise we will risk having another drought.”
Economist Dr Godfrey Kanyenze said a new approach was required for the economy to grow.
“We need to have common vision among ourselves as Zimbabweans. We need to be coherent and united before we engage external parties.
“We also need to find each other as Zimbabweans because nothing can happen without unity. We have to speak with one voice and nothing will stop us.
“We should also focus more on the economy. National ownership, inclusivity, transparency and accountability are the key factors for a better country,” said Dr Kanyenze.
Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) executive director Ms Rosemary Siyachitema said they will make consumers aware of their rights.
“Consumers need to understand the law.
We also need to launch the consumer education awareness campaign for the consumers to be aware of that law,” she said.
Zanu PF national spokesperson Cde Simon Khaya Moyo said following the successful 18th Annual National People’s Conference in Goromonzi, they will soon be issuing a full statement on the 2020 resolutions early this month.
Some of the resolutions include focusing on issues affecting people such as job creation, the establishment of gold centres and promoting value addition and beneficiation.
Zanu PF wants all closed food canning factories such as Cashel Valley in Chimanimani, Border Streams and Rusitu Jam Canners to be resuscitated to create jobs.
New Patriotic Front president Engineer Peter Munyanduri wants unity among Zimbabweans.
“We are better off as a united entity and everyone should be preaching unity in 2020.
We want issues of increasing prices of basic commodities, availability of electricity and fuel as well as payment of better salaries addressed in 2020.
Long bank queues should be addressed through the availing of more money by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe,” he said.
Coalition of Democracy leader Mr Dereck Lupamba wants the exchange rate to be stabilised.
National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) board chairman Advocate Martin Dinha said they are looking forward to a better year.
“We are geared up to turnaround NRZ’s fortunes in 2020 in terms of rehabilitation, retooling and modernisation.
We will be working on revamping the entire system as we seek to attain Vision 2030.
“Our passenger trains are now popular as they are the cheapest means of travelling to Zimbabweans.
We will continue enhancing this service.
“Although we failed to meet our targets of moving 4 million tonnes of goods, as we achieved 2,8 million, we hope to surpass the 2020 targets.
“We will be moving a lot of mineral resources, among them, chrome, iron ore, cobalt and coal,” said Adv Dinha.