Zim too broke to implement economic plan


HARARE – Zimbabwe has no funds to implement its five-year economic blueprint, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZimAsset), Industry minister Mike Bimha has said.

He said the private sector should help finance projects under the plan, expected to guide Zimbabwe’s economic plans and objectives until 2018.

Bimha said government was facing a policy implementation crisis and needs a financial bailout for ZimAsset.

“Government has spent time and resources planning the ZimAsset, but will not be able to implement this scheme on its own,” he said at a Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) function last week.

“This policy will help industry the most so it is only prudent for industry to assist in every possible way, preferably financial,” Bimha added.

He said if private players did not chip in, ZimAsset would amount to nothing as government “has too much on its plate as it is.”

“The country has got policies that fall short in the implementation department. I am appealing to the private sector to help government in the implementation of these policies to speed up economic development,” he said.

Under ZimAsset — requiring at least $10 billion to implement — Zimbabwe targets to create 2,2 million jobs, unlock $1,8 trillion in idle mineral reserves and grow the economy by an average seven percent annually.

The blue-print comes on the back of a string of others that include the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme, Zimbabwe Programme for Economic and Social Transformation and the abandoned Medium Term Plan that was supposed to run until 2015.

Bimha also said the country needed to formulate credible policy proposals that address issues like strengthening fiscal management, reducing financial sector vulnerability and improving the business climate to attract investment and enhance competitiveness.

Recently, Dutch ambassador to Zimbabwe Gera Sneller said the Netherlands would not advance Zimbabwe funds to finance its economic plans under the blueprint.

She suggested that Zimbabwe partners private investors rather than seek rescue packages from governments.

“I have to say that I feel Zimbabwe is at a stage where the most important thing is to work with private investors not ask for aid from individual countries… it really should not be about aid,” Sneller said.

“If government follows what is being stated… to improve the business climate, investment will come,” the envoy said.

She said Zimbabwe was a risky destination to invest at the moment.

Sneller said Dutch investors were ready to come into the country provided government clarifies policies that protect investor interests.

“Investors should have assurance that the same laws valid today will be valid tomorrow and that the same conditions should be applicable across sectors,” she said.

The investment-starved country is desperately trying to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) and access international lines of credit.

Investors and financiers however are wary of its policies, particularly the indigenisation law — compelling foreigners to cede majority shareholding to black locals. DailyNews

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