The 2018 national budget statement presented to Parliament last week by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development Cde Patrick Chinamasa got a thumbs up from Zimbabweans across the political divide. What therefore remains is for Government to ensure that the budget is implemented as outlined.
Most Zimbabweans have said the budget has all the ingredients needed to turn around the economy. In his foreword, Cde Chinamasa said as the nation focuses on the recovery of the economy, there is a need to shed mis-behaviours and acts of indiscipline which have characterised the past.
He said there was an urgent need to address the country’s high risk perception among existing and prospective investors. Cde Chinamasa said Government will put in place complementary measures aimed at transforming the business environment and stimulating production as well as curbing corruption and addressing rampant rent-seeking behaviours and market indiscipline.
Zimbabwe has over the years failed to attract Foreign Direct Investment and this was blamed largely on the country’s high risk perception among existing and prospective investors. It is against this background that the President Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa has pledged to ensure foreign investment is protected and that Government fully abides by the terms of Bilateral Investment Protection and Promotion Agreements Zimbabwe has acceded to.
Cde Mnangagwa said Government will also ensure that servicing and re-scheduling of domestic and external public debt obligations is consistent with agreements with lenders and creditors. The Government’s position marks a paradigm shift that represents movement towards a “New Economic Order”.
What is encouraging is that few days after the presentation of the budget, there is a positive response to Zimbabwe’s commitment to re-engage the international community. On Tuesday the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) announced a $1,5 billion economic stabilisation package that will go towards the revival of the country’s productive sector.
Afreximbank president and board of directors chairman, Dr Okey Oramah, said the bank was keen to support the stabilisation of the Zimbabwean economy by providing the currency liquidity and end bank queues. He said his bank would also be supporting the nostros of the different banks to ensure that those dealing in American dollars have access every time they need them to pay for goods.
Dr Oramah said the funds being provided by his bank will also provide investment guarantees for investors as part of measures to entice them to invest in Zimbabwe. Cde Chinamasa said Dr Oramah’s visit sends a very positive signal to the rest of the world that Zimbabwe is open to do business and is ready for new investment.
Government and the private sector should therefore brace for an investment boom. We must, however, continue to work towards improving the investment environment so that Zimbabwe becomes an investment destination of first choice in the region.
Cde Mnangagwa has already warned that it’s no longer business as usual because the new thrust now demands new work ethics.