The country’s unemployment rate is pegged at well over 80%, while the majority of the population lives and earns below the poverty datum line of US$500 on average.
MTP was launched against the background of a massive economic free-fall witnessed in the last decade, precipitated by internecine conflict between the country’s leading political parties and increased international isolation.
In an endeavour to publicise the country’s economic achievements since dollarisation in February 2009, the Ministry of Economic Planning and Investment Promotion recently launched the Planning Bulletin with the support of the United Nations Development Programme.
The bulletin would be regularly published in conjunction with economic research findings from local academic institutions as the ministry moves towards increasing policy-makers’ decision-making capabilities.
Economic Planning and Investment Promotion Permanent Secretary, Desire Sibanda said that the country expects to achieve an economic growth rate of 9,4% in 2012 against a southern African region average growth rate of 5%.
Sibanda said Zimbabwe was on the path towards a sustainable growth trajectory, a key factor which would serve to attract more foreign direct investment inflows into the country.
“The economy has grown by leaps and bounds . . . If people in the world do not know this, then they will not invest in the country,” he said, adding that the bulletin would serve as a key imperative in government’s drive towards re-engaging the international community.
Despite the constrained fiscal space alluded to by Finance minister Tendai Biti in his recent budget statement, the MTP requires US$9,2 billion in order to boost economic growth and create more employment among other economic targets.
Funding is expected to emanate from internal savings and investment as well as foreign credit lines.
The plan recognises that investment regulation, co-ordination and promotion will be critical within the plan period.
However, the bulletin notes that the MTP faces major hurdles in the form of wavering policy consistency, debt distress, and chronic deficits in delivering basic public goods and services to the population and private sector as well as an overall business environment that is not conducive to external investment.
Several governments the world over have devised economic blueprints which failed but they eventually developed pragmatic approaches to development planning that saw them changing economic face for the better.
Japan’s 1946 Priority Production Plan, the tragedy of China’s 1958 Great Leap Forward and the early failures of South Korea in the 1950s are a few cases in point noted by the bulletin.
The bulletin also notes that a number of countries such as China, Brazil, India, Malaysia and Kenya, which underwent a period of political upheavals, among others, have successfully developed planning blueprints.
“Through the consistent application of development plans, these countries have managed to register impressive rates of economic growth that has seen them graduate from their developing country status to newly emerging developed economies,” Sibanda said.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai noted that mixed messages from the inclusive government have largely led to policy inconsistency and unpredictability, thereby sending negative signals to the local and foreign investors.
The incessant political bickering and uncertain calls for an early election in 2012, despite failure by the principals to consummate the Global Political Agreement, have only served as an albatross on the blueprint’s objectives.