Enacy Mapakame Business Reporter
Economists say the recently sworn-in Cabinet should prioritise increased production, ease of doing business reforms and local content promotion as a means to hasten economic turnaround. There is consensus agriculture, mining and manufacturing industry could make the country’s road to stability faster and smoother.
These, they said, will be anchored on increased production, especially in agriculture which has for years been the back bone of the economy, supporting downstream industries, before a rapid downturn at the turn of the millennium. The sector provides an estimated 60 percent of the raw materials in the manufacturing industry while accounting for 70 percent of the country’s workforce.
However, to experience a major boom in agriculture, there is need to relook at tenure of security as the lack of finality on the matter has hindered the new breed of farmers from getting bank loans. Since the land reform exercise which saw a multitude of indigenous Zimbabweans owning land and venturing into agriculture, access to finance has been a contentious issue due to lack of security.
The 99-year lease debate has raged on for years and it is hoped with the new leadership in place, this can be concluded and implemented smoothly. Economists Dr Gift Mugano said Government also need to expedite the ease of doing business reforms which in turn should help the country attract both domestic and foreign investment.
“While the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) has been working on reforms, there is need to speed up this process and implementation, we should not spend more time in discussions, but implementation so that the world realises we are serious as a country,” he said.
The OPC, together with various stakeholders such as ZimTrade have been working on ease of doing export business reforms, aimed at removing regulatory obstacles that hinder smooth flow of export business in the country.
Buy Zimbabwe chief executive officer Munyaradzi Hwengwere said there was need to bring finality to local content policy and its implementation while pushing for increased production. This, he said, would also help create jobs.
“The most important thing we need right now is increase production, that is how we can create jobs,” said Mr Hwengwere by telephone.
He said Zimbabwe could take a cue from neighbouring South Africa who are implementing a local content policy on selected products to promote employment creation.
“We need to identify some products that have a huge impact in creating jobs.
In South Africa for example, the emphasis is on job creation and local consumption. It is mandatory for some products to be procured locally.
“We can do the same thing here and boost local production be it in agriculture or mining,” he said.
Mr Hwengwere cited Finance and Economic Development, Industry and Commerce as well as Mines and Mining Development as the key strategic ministries crucial in the quick economic turnaround strategy.
In his inaugural speech, President Emmerson Mnangagwa spoke against corruption and said stern measures would be taken against all those found in the wrong. Analysts concurred corruption has been a cancerous to the economy and should be nipped in the bud across all ministries.