GOVERNMENT is forging ahead with infrastructural development as it is the bedrock for sustainable economic recovery and growth, Vice President Dr Constantino Chiwenga, who is also Health and Child Care Minister has said.
The Second Republic under the leadership of President Mnangagwa, has vowed to rebuild the country, which for close to two decades has suffered economic malaise.
Already, notable and various infrastructural development projects are in place across the country in line with the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1), a national economic development plan anchoring the economy from 2021 to 2025.
Through NDS1, the Government intends to drive the country towards an upper middle income economy status by 2030 where the Gross Domestic Product per capita of US$3 500 would be achieved.
In a speech read on his behalf on Thursday night by the Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr John Mangwiro during the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) dinner and awards ceremony, the VP challenged the private sector to partner Government in infrastructural development programmes.
“Great strides have been made and continue to be made towards upgrading the country’s infrastructure. This is in line with the realisation that sound infrastructure is the bedrock of sustainable economic recovery and growth.
“We challenge the private sector to partner Government in these initiatives as Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) are the way to go,” he said.
Some of the major projects the Government is implementing include the Beitbridge-Harare highway, of which about 233km has been completed since the inception of the of the project; the upgrading of the Beitbridge Border Post where Phase 1 is now complete; the construction of the new Parliament building, construction of dams across the country; refurbishment of the Hwange Units 7 and 8 and the upgrading of the Robert Gabriel International Airport.
Infrastructural development is also an economic enabler expected to exponentially facilitate trade and investment coming through as a result of the operationalisation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The AfCFTA, which became operational on January 1 this year, is touted as the world’s biggest single market with 1,2 billion people expected to contribute US$3 trillion annually to the continent’s Gross Domestic Product.
VP Chiwenga commended the private sector for remaining resilient particularly when the economy suffered on the back of many challenges Zimbabwe was reeling under.
“The Government applauds the business community for its resilience and determination in a challenging operating environment. The New Dispensation under the leadership of His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Cde ED Mnangagwa will continue implementing economic reforms aimed at steering Zimbabwe towards the achievement of Vision 2030,” he added.
The NDS1, he said and its successor, the National Development Strategy 2 (NDS2) provide a roadmap of attaining the national aspirations of an upper middle-income economy.
NDS 2 is expected to come into effect in 2026 right through to 2030.
“No one should be left behind as we rebuild our economy, brick by brick. All hands-on deck! In this regard, Government is committed to creating a conducive environment for business to thrive through various initiatives meant to improve the ease of doing business,” said VP Chiwenga.
He noted that against a backdrop of a successful 2020-2021 agricultural season, food self-sufficiency has been achieved this year with the Government optimistic that the upcoming season would be even more successful.
VP Chiwenga said agriculture was the backbone Zimbabwe’s economy and thus the Government would endeavour to avail adequate resources to the sector.
Turning to corruption, he said: “Government is seized with the level of corruption in both public and private sectors. Corruption is a cancer that retards progress and should not be condoned at any level.
“The Government, through the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, remains committed to fighting this scourge, and will leave no stone unturned.”
Another cause for concern to Government, the VP said was the rampant illicit parallel market activities perpetrated by some uncouth elements whose machinations were bent on causing financial market distortions, thus reversing the macro-economic gains achieved so far.
“We therefore warn all those involved in such shenanigans; the long arm of the law will catch up with you.”
In the last 12 months, Government has managed to tame the hyperinflation environment that had reached 837 percent in July last year to 50 percent last month.
Government is also working towards adequate resourcing of the foreign exchange market to prevent backlogs and improve efficiency of the platform.
In August, the forex backlog at the auction system was said to be around US$200 million before Treasury last month released an additional US$70 million to cover the gap.
On the Covid-19 pandemic fight, the VP said Government strongly commends the private sector for its major role in the vaccination programme as the country targets to reach herd immunity of 60 percent of the population by year-end.
“The target was to have 10 percent of the population vaccinated by 30 September 2021 but we surpassed that target by 17,2 percent before the 4th of October. The various measures being employed against the pandemic are bearing fruit as evidenced by the number of Covid-19 active cases. However, these successes should not make us complacent,” he said.