Harare(New Ziana) – President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Tuesday said the government intends to prioritise support towards productive sectors of the economy particularly mining, agriculture and manufacturing to anchor economic growth.
In a State of the Nation Address delivered in Parliament, President Mnangagwa said various strategies were being pursued to ensure that the key sectors of the economy performed at optimum.
“The sustained turnaround of our economy hinges on focused support for the productive sectors especially agriculture, mining and manufacturing,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said the mining sector, for example, remained the country’s key source of export earnings, employment and preferred destination for investment inflows.
He said this had seen it recording US$1.3 billion in export receipts during the first half of the year, constituting 68 percent of the country’s total export earnings.
“We will soon unveil a comprehensive strategy and road map towards the attainment of a US$12 billion mining industry in Zimbabwe by 2023. The attainment of this goal is achievable with concrete green fields and expansion projects now at various stages of implementation.”
President Mnangagwa said despite the drought induced bad performance of the agricultural sector last season, te government was optimistic of a better season ahead.
Against that background, he said the government had set aside ZWL$1.8 billion towards the production of strategic crops such as maize, soya beans and cotton this season.
“Of this amount, ZWL$567.4 million has been allocated for the provision of inputs for vulnerable households and another ZWL$332 million to ensure the procurement of inputs for cotton production.
“A total of ZWL$ 968 million will augment the ZWL$2.8 billion put forward by banks and the private sector to support the command agriculture programme.”
In aid of the agricultural mechanisation programme, he said a ZWL$60 million facility had been set aside for the rehabilitation of farm machinery while US$51million had been allocated for the procurement of agricultural machinery from John Deere.
Another farm mechanisation facility was also being pursued with the government of Belarus for the importation of tractors, planters and combine harvesters.
“To render inputs more affordable to our farmers, Government is putting in place measures to facilitate the duty free importation of fertilisers, targeted electricity subsidies and local manufacturing of fertiliser including the full exploitation of phosphates from Dorowa,” he said.
On the manufacturing sector, President Mnangagwa said it offered immense growth opportunities through backward and forward production linkages.
“I am pleased to note that some companies are gradually increasing their production and exports. The introduction of a mono-currency system is also set to boost the competitiveness of our manufacturing sector,” he said.
“In addition Government is scaling up its support to the sector through duty exemptions on raw materials and capital equipment, tax breaks and holidays for priority projects and other import management measures.
“This thrust is anchored on the implementation of the recently adopted Zimbabwe National Industrial Development policy and local content strategy.”
To promote trade and exports, President Mnangagwa said the government was pursuing the modernisation of border posts and the introduction of customs smart technologies to speed up freight clearance.
President Mnangagwa said the small and medium enterprises (SME) sector had also emerged as a key enabler to economic growth and in recognition of that, Government had secured a US$2.7 million grant from India for the upgrading of SME working facilities.
“In addition measures will be put in place to establish the SME stock exchange with a view to unlocking resources for the SMEs,” he said.
On the financial services sector, President Mnangagwa said Government was determined to consolidate digital financial services to deliver banking services to previously unbanked and marginalised societies.
“To further support the development of the financial services sector Government has revived the issuance of treasury bills and bonds through the auction system.
“In this vein, the RBZ has established savings bond instruments to facilitate safe and secure investment for the public,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said the government would continue with its bold and decisive steps to open up and grow the economy in line with the road map articulated in vision 2030 and the Transitional Stabilisation Program.
He said he was encouraged by the nation’s positive response to the currency reforms and the relative stability of the exchange rate over the past 8 weeks.
“However last week’s events of exchange rate manipulation amounts to economic sabotage and should not be tolerated. We all need to adhere to the rule of law and foster discipline at all levels,” he said.
“Government is fully aware of the challenges faced by the public in accessing cash which has resulted in some unscrupulous traders selling cash in exchange for electronic money. Appropriate measures are being taken to address the cash situation which include a gradual removal of arbitrage opportunities created through multi-tier pricing.”
He added; “I am pleased to highlight that the ongoing fiscal consolidation measures are already paying off. During the first half of 2019 a budget surplus has been recorded, such savings have enabled government to meet essential unplanned expenditures in particular towards the rehabilitation of damaged infrastructure and in supporting the livelihoods of communities affected by cyclone Idai, social service delivery, cost of living adjustments for civil servants and provision of social safety nets for the vulnerable members of our society.”
President Mnangagwa said the modernisation and rehabilitation of infrastructure had commenced, with noticeable progress being recorded.
“To date, a total of ZWL$2.5 billion which constitutes 34.5 percent of total capital development has been set aside for various transport, water, public amenities, energy, irrigation, social services and other infrastructural projects,” he said.
On tourism, President Mnangagwa said growth would be supported by the widening of tourism products and investment in new accommodation and conference facilities.
“I urge players in the sector to be flexible and adopt more competitive pricing regimes and to jointly market our attractions with partners from the region and beyond,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said the parastatal reform programme being pursued to improve operational efficiencies of state owned companies was gathering pace.
For example, he said the approved strategic partner of the Cold Storage Commission was already on the ground while Cabinet had approved the road map for the privatisation of Tel-One and NetOne.