A negotiator to the power-sharing deal has stalled the formation of a body designed to give advice to government and formulate economic plans and programmes, among other things, saying the matter has to be dealt with by political parties.
The Global Political Agreement (GPA), the bedrock on which the inclusive government was formed, stipulates that there be a National Economic Council (NEC) to give advice to government, formulating economic plans and programmes for approval by government and such other functions as would be assigned to the council by the government.
According to Article 3 (c) of the GPA, NEC is supposed to comprise representatives of the parties in the coalition government — Zanu PF, MDC-T and MDC. It is supposed to comprise representatives from various sectors of the economy such as manufacturing, agriculture, mining, tourism, commerce, financial, labour, academia and other relevant sectors.
Economic Planning and Investments Promotion minister Tapiwa Mashakada said on Thursday the setting up of NEC was stalled by politics.
He said the ministry has done a framework for NEC which was taken to the Council of Ministers. “We took it to cabinet and we had one of the negotiators who indicated that the issue of the NEC is political. It mustn’t be driven by a government department, in this case by the Ministry of Economic Planning.
“The negotiator was more comfortable with the NEC being driven by political parties,” Mashakada said.
Mashakada hoped the negotiator would be persuaded to release NEC so that his ministry can run with the planning and its implementation.
“We are the chief planners of the economy. We need a forum where business, academia, labour and everybody come together, recommend policies to government, evaluate government programmes and projects and assist government as a think tank.”
Mashakada said the ministry would continue to harp on this so that it can be implemented because it’s apolitical.
“It must be apolitical and it’s a vital organ in the implementation of the MTP (Medium Term Plan) and indeed other government projects and programmes,” he said.
So has NEC been added onto the list of outstanding issues?
“Yes it has joined the long list. Those are the pains of transitional or coalitional governments but we will do our part” Mashakada said.
Since the signing of the GPA in 2008 and the creation of an inclusive government in 2009, parties in the coalition are haggling over outstanding issues which they say are inimical to the smooth working of government.