Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s recent statements that the government needed more than 30 years to implement its economic blueprint, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim Asset), was an admission that the programme is indeed a pie in the sky, analysts have said.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
Mujuru told delegates at the commemoration of the Hwange mine disaster recently that the five-year time frame for the government to achieve the objectives of the blueprint was too short, adding that finances required for its implementation could not be raised at once.
She was responding to questions on how the government would raise the estimated US$30 billion required to implement the Zim Asset, in which the energy sector alone required at least US$13,6 billion, followed by the transport sector which required US$8 billion.
Mujuru added that it was important for the public to understand that Zim Asset was similar to the liberation struggle which she said was won with limited resources over a long period. She said that as long as the government was clear with its objectives and what it wanted to achieve, Zim Asset was achievable in various stages.
“We fought for this country and won with no budget, no money, no car, and no bicycle. So this is going to be the best budget we have ever drafted and gives us no boundaries on what we need to do but when we talk of numbers, people might think we need billions within a day. Five years is too soon to achieve the objectives of the Zim Asset. It is the beginning of a lifetime and can take up to 30 or even 40 years,” Mujuru was quoted saying.
However, economic analysts that spoke to our sister paper Southern Eye said Mujuru’s utterances were a clear indication that Zim Asset was not implementable within a short space of time.
“It’s more of a pie in the sky and a glorified party manifesto rather than an economic blueprint,” said local analyst Dumisani Nkomo.
Another local analyst Collen Mugodzva said Mujuru’s sentiments were an indication that the government has realised financial challenges in implementing the policy.
“Zim Asset is a good document but the challenge is in the implementation. We need buy-in from both local stakeholders and the international community,” said Mugodzva.
“By international buy-in, I mean we need to have both the East and West.
“The government is realising the challenge in the implementation of Zim Asset and this is the reason why Mujuru was saying we need more time,” he added.
However, Eric Bloch, a prominent economic analyst, said the strategic economic document could be implemented within six years if the country rectifies its inconsistent policies.
“Zim Asset could be achieved in six years if the government is doing the right things. The government should work on its policies to lure in foreign direct investment,” said Bloch.
Zim Asset is the government’s economic blueprint adopted from the Zanu PF 2013 election manifesto.
In the run-up to the controversial July 31 elections, President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF unveiled an election manifesto in which they promised Zimbabweans heaven on earth.
The party promised creating value of US$7,3 billion from the indigenisation of 1 138 companies across 14 key sectors of the economy and over US$1,8 million from the idle value of empowerment assets unlocked from parastatals, local authorities, mineral rights and claims and from the state’s intention to capacitate Agribank with US$2 billion to finance the stimulation of agricultural productivity.
These initiatives were said to be aimed at creating over two million jobs across key sectors of the economy and contributing to export earnings, food security, among many other benefits including urban housing construction on peri-urban farms acquired during the land reform exercise.
A massive public infrastructure rehabilitation programme was also promised, premised on a US$3 billion injection.
The party also said it would pump into small enterprises US$300 million and sell off non-performing State firms to unlock up to US$7,6 billion.
The party’s trump card — the empowerment drive — was expected to unlock US$1,8 trillion into locals’ coffers and drive annual gross domestic product growth close to 10% by 2018, from the current 4,4%.
However, over a year down the line Zimbabweans continue singing the blues.