Government’s new five-year National Development Strategy lacks a clear funding plan, posing a threat to its potential success and business will be watching keenly how it is implemented, lobby group the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce has said.
The NDS1 follows on from the two-year Transitional Stability Programme which the ZNCC says has stabilized the economy successfully in the short term at a time the global economy is reeling under the weight of the COVID-19 pandemic.
ZNCC president, Tinashe Manzungu, however, pointed out that funding remained a grey area in the stabilization programme’s successor which is meant to build on the work of its predecessor.
“The grey area of the strategy is funding. For it to be a success, it should be well funded and the policy heavily depends on natural resources and boosting the domestic economy.
“Most of our natural resources are being exported as raw material and nothing much is being realised in foreign currency earnings hence the issue of funding is critical,” Manzungu said.
Furthermore, government has to raise US$3.5 billion to compensate white farmers who lost farms during the fast track land reform programme at the same time.
Zimbabwe has seen a raft of economic blueprints in its 40-year history such as ESAP, ZIMPREST and ZIMASSET some of which have been lauded in terms of content but have largely fallen short on implementation.
“Zimbabwe has been good in term of policy formulating with implementation lacking. We need to see more of actions and periodic reviews of the strategy. Our interest is to see if the implementation is as good as it can be”.
Even though on paper the plan emphasises on prudent use of public resources the country needs to effectively deal with corruption for any development plan to work and the government will need to increase its rapport with different players in the economy if its new plan is to make headway.
President Mnangagwa called for Zimbabweans to “roll up their sleeves” and prepare to work for the successful implementation of NDS1.
“In line with our culture of dialogue, the implementation of the NDS1 will entail continued dialogue and engagement to maintain the consistency and pragmatism that saw us achieve the successes of the TSP,” the President said.
The ZNCC hopes this promise will be kept.
“We also call for clear and proper communication of the NDS1 between sectors of the economy and economic players. The effectiveness of NDS1 can be improved if all the economic agents are aware with the direction the economy will be taking.
“I have heard the minister saying he will be having road shows as an engagement process of the citizens come the first quarter of 2021, we welcome the gesture.”
The NDS1 will chart policies, institutional reforms and national priorities needed from 2021-2025 to achieve an upper middle income economy under President Mnangagwa’s Vision 2030.
NDS1 is the second step of government’s drive to attain Vision 2030 and succeeds the TSP, which ran from October 2018 to this year.
The third step will be National Development Strategy 2 to be implemented from 2026 to 2030.
The TSP focused on stabilising the macro-economy and the financial sector, improving infrastructure, and laid the foundation required for economic take-off and growth.
The blueprint will run under the theme “Towards a Prosperous and Empowered Upper Middle Income Society by 2030”.