Harare (New Ziana) – President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Tuesday told cabinet ministers and senior government officials to cut back on foreign travels and concentrate on developmental government programmes and projects to help deliver a planned upper middle income economy by 2030.
Having declared 2022 as a year of growth, President Mnangagwa said government officials should instead expend more energy on the ground to ensure that targets set under crucial economic programmes such as the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) are met.
“I have observed a worrisome trend where as ministers you are now prone to foreign travel, along with your senior officials. This unbecoming culture should stop forthwith,” he said in his opening address to the first Cabinet meeting of 2022.
“The need for government to attain all set targets cannot be over-emphasized. This should be spurred by heightened attention to detail and implementation of strategies as captured in the performance contracts we signed last week on the 10th of February 2022.
“The quarterly reports under NDS1 will form a critical part of an agenda to ensure that we track our progress in that regard. It is my firm belief that, coupled with the continuous improvement in the conditions of service for our staff; Vision 2030 is attainable. Cabinet’s workflow should be more predictable so that we focus more on implementation of policies and programmes.”
President Mnangagwa said crucial government programmes such as the devolution agenda were being given further impetus through increased funding and strengthening of devolution structures.
As such, government officials were expected to be at the forefront of implementing the devolution programme, one of the major policy thrusts of the Second Republic.
“Following the substantial resource envelope availed for the Devolution and Decentralization Programme in the 2022 National Budget, visible transformation across the respective provinces, is imperative,” he said in reference to the over ZW$40 billion dollars that has been budgeted for devolution programmes this year.
“The Office of the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution has since been strengthened. The thrust is to ensure that the focus of planning and managing implementation of development progressively shifts to provinces and the community levels. For consistency and greater synergies, Ministers of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution will be co-opted into some Cabinet Committees.”
Signaling the Second Republic’s strong intent to inculcate a stronger work ethic within government, performance-based contracts for Permanent Secretaries, Cabinet Ministers, and chief executive officers of parastatals and local authorities have been introduced.
The contracts will soon carry sanctions for poor work.
“Against the backdrop of the signing of Performance Contracts last week; let us increase our work rate towards being a more successful government. Individually and collectively we have a sacred obligation to press on for more and better results,” he said.
Meanwhile, President Mnangagwa said the year 2022, which marks the fourth year since the advent of the Second Republic, should see continued efforts to alleviate the plight of the people.
He said the projected economic growth this year of around 7.4 percent would be driven mainly by the buoyant performance of the mining sector, a good agriculture season, and further improved management of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“After a patchy start to the 2021/2022 summer cropping season, there are now enhanced prospects for an overall good season, which will further consolidate national food security,” he said.
“The country’s vaccine stocks are sufficient to achieve herd immunity. Our message to the people remains focused on vaccination as the first line of defence, given the mutating nature of the virus.”
President Mnangagwa reminded ministers to ensure timeous submission of project and programme proposals to Cabinet.
“Members will recall that our last meeting in 2021 received a comprehensive compendium of regional co-operation agreements across all critical sectors. Progress updates on the respective agreements, Ministry by Ministry, should be tabled for consideration by Cabinet during the first quarter of 2022. International co-operation agreements will also require attention as we take our engagement and re-engagement programme to new levels,” he said.
“Our foreign missions are expected to work tirelessly to advance our economic diplomacy, including through the identification of niche markets for our diverse range of exports.”