Cabinet received an update report on the country’s response to the Covid-19 outbreak, which the Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs presented as chairperson of the Ad-Hoc Inter-Ministerial Task Force.
As of 20 November, 2020, Zimbabwe had recorded a cumulative 9 120 confirmed Covid-19 cases, 8 229 recoveries, and 265 deaths. The national recovery rate is 90.2 percent. Seven thousand six hundred and fifty of the Covid-19 positive cases are local transmissions. New cases for week 46 stood at 281, compared to 294 recorded in week 45. The total number of PCR tests done during the reporting week is 6 191, up from 5 028 carried out during the previous week. The increase is attributable to wider utilisation of Gene Xpert machines.
Cabinet notes that a number of Covid-19 positive cases were reported at learning institutions following the full re-opening of schools. The nation is advised that measures have been put in place to strengthen protective and preventative measures in boarding school environments.
The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education with technical support from the Ministry of Health and Child Care, is organising logistics for implementing the following practical measures to minimise the recurrence of the John Tallach School experience in other boarding schools; reviewing the maximum carrying capacity of all boarding hostels; conducting detailed inspection of boarding facilities; and targeted training of hostel matron, boarding masters as well as kitchen staff. In order to guarantee of fresh water to schools in need, Cabinet reports that $150 million was released to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education for the drilling of boreholes.
Cabinet notes, with concern, that there has been an increase in Covid-19 positive cases over the past three weeks. Cabinet reiterates that the lockdown and curfew measures previously announced are still subsisting. It should be noted that public bars, night clubs, beer halls, casinos, betting shops and theatres are still not permitted to operate.
The nation is informed that gatherings are still limited to two persons, while authorised events such as weddings and church congregation as are limited to 50 and 100 persons, respectively. The enforcement of lockdown measures will be intensified henceforth. It should be emphasized that where there is non-compliance to these regulations the low enforcement agencies will not hesitate to enforce the penalties prescribed.
With the festive season fast approaching, the public is advised to take all the necessary precautions to prevent a surge in Covid-19 positive cases.
Those visiting the country should undergo Covid-19 tests in their countries of origin and bring valid Covid-19 negative results obtained within 48 hours of departure in line with WHO protocols. Meanwhile, a robust awareness creation programme is being rolled out under which the engagement of communities is being strengthened.
Cabinet advises that NatPharm and private companies have adequate stocks of most medicines and drugs required for the prevention, treatment and supportive management of Covid-19. Stocks of PPE are also sufficient to meet demand.
In the primary and secondary education sector, learner attendance statistics stand as follows: Phase 1 (final examination classes), 50.7 percent; Phase 2 (Grade 6, Form 3 and Lower 6th Form), 42.26 percent; and Phase 3 (ECD, Grade 1,2,3,4,5, Form 1 and 2), 32.78 percent.
ACCELERATED IRRIGATION REHABILITATION AND DEVELOPMENT PLAN: 2021-2025
Cabinet considered and approved the Accelerated Irrigation Rehabilitation and Development Plan: 2021-2025 as presented by the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement on behalf of the chairman of the Cabinet Committee on Food Security and Nutrition.
The Accelerated Irrigation Rehabilitation and Development Plan will pursue a number of specific objectives, among them, increasing the annual cropping area from 156 000 to 350 000 hectares and developing irrigation area to 400 000 hectares by 2025.
This will be achieved through rehabilitation and modernisation of 45 000 hectares of existing irrigation; development of 204 000 hectares of new irrigation infrastructure across the country to enable meaningful production in marginal areas; rehabilitation of 26 000 hectares of communal irrigation on 450 irrigation schemes; and establishment of a Presidential District Irrigation Vision 2030 Accelerator, comprising 200 hectares per district.
The plan will also seek to improve efficiency of water use by adopting modern irrigation systems as well as access to finance, inputs and markets, and to improve governance and business ethic for irrigation schemes. The policy and regulatory environment will be improved in order to motivate private sector participation and accelerate dam and irrigation infrastructure development, while the establishment of micro-water harvesting and irrigation methods for households will be promoted and incentivised.
ROADMAP TO A US$8 BILLION INDUSTRIAL AND COMMERCIAL
SECTOR BY 2023
Cabinet considered and approved the roadmap to a US$8 billion industrial and commercial sector by 2023, which was presented by the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development, as chairman of the Combined Cabinet Committee on Innovation, Technology Development and Application; and Committee on Industrial and Export Development.
The roadmap outlines the plan to raise the manufacturing and commercial sector contribution to GDP from the current US$7,16 billion to US$8,03 billion by 2023, through the sector’s diversified 94 sub-sectors. In the interim, the sector contribution to GDP is projected to grow to US$7,4 billion in 2021 and US$7,7 billion in 2022. Investment and growth in the manufacturing and commercial sector will be spurred by the Ease of Doing Business reforms, and the implementation of the Special Economic Zones and the One-Stop-Shop concept. Furthermore, the country is already implementing the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap (2015-2063); and the COMESA Industrialisation Strategy (2017-2025), which strategies are anchored on value chain development and beneficiation. The National Development Strategy 1 (NDS-1) 2021-2025, the Zimbabwe National Industrial Development Policy (2019-2023) as well as the Local Content Strategy will also buttress the Roadmap.
The growth of the industrial and commercial sector will also be boosted by a number of investments scheduled for implementation under the roadmap, since it is private-public-sector-led. These include 23 planned investments amounting to US$545 million in the food, drink and tobacco sub-sectors; US$32 million investments in the textiles, clothing and leather sub-sectors; and a total of eight projects with an investment value of US$1,5 billion in the metals and electricals sub-sectors. The Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe (IDCZ) will play a pivotal role in the achievement of the Roadmap through availing loan capital to bankable greenfield and brownfield industrial projects. Other finer details of the milestones to be achieved in each of the years of implementation will be availed annually.
In addition to the afore-cited investments, the planned Kanyemba and Tugwi-Mukosi agricultural projects will also give impetus to rural industrialisation as well as complement the devolution agenda. Community Share Ownership Trusts (CSOTs) will continue to be used as vehicles for accelerated rural industrialisation in general. Emphasis will be given to corporate social responsibility in order to ensure that the Community Share Ownership Trusts are funded and operational.
Meanwhile, the commercial sector is expected to grow into a US$5,2 billion sector compared to the current US$4,1 billion, on the backdrop of increased branch networks by the major wholesale and retail outlets.
In order to enhance productivity, key enablers shall be put in place, including the following: provision of water supply and the relevant infrastructure; and investment in the development and manufacture of information communication technology products. Government calls upon the financial services sector and other domestic investors to mobilise and avail the required investment capital to support the Roadmap and other development programmes.
COUNCIL BILL, 2020
The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs presented the National Security Council Bill, which was adopted by Cabinet. The Bill is in fulfilment of Section 209 of the Constitution, which provides for the Council. The Bill stipulates the membership and functions of the National Security Council as well the general framework for the operations of the Council.
Highlights of the provisions include addition of commanders of the security services, the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, and the Ministers responsible for intelligence, security, defence, police, prisons, finance and foreign affairs to the council’s membership. The Bill also provides for reports on national security to be made by the President to Parliament each year.