Felex Share, Harare Bureau
President Emmerson Mnangagwa chaired his first Cabinet meeting yesterday at which he gave ministers a week to present priority projects and quick-win measures under their purview to improve the livelihoods of Zimbabweans in the shortest period.
He told the 21 ministers who were sworn-in on Monday to get down to business and set priority projects that have visible impact on the ground.
In his opening remarks at the inaugural Cabinet meeting, the Head of State and Government said every minister should “think outside the box” and pursue “high speed programme execution.”
“You will recall that my acceptance speech underlined that we will hit the ground running,” President Mnangagwa said.
“I used that figure of speech advisedly, all to underline a new ethos in administering and delivering public services and goods which must work to quantifiable and measurable targets which make visible impact on the ground. And the ground is where our people are presently, which means from the ground is where we must raise them starting today.”
He went on: “I am not talking of lifting them spiritually, something we leave to the able prayers of our bishops, priests, reverends and pastors. I am talking of raising them bodily, which means Government-led interventions that address the social conditions of all our people; that raise communities to higher levels of welfare.”
President Mnangagwa said Government officials should set themselves to implement identified projects within 100-day cycles until the 2018 harmonised elections.
“As time is of the essence, we thus need to pursue high speed programme execution,” President Mnangagwa said.
“I now wish to challenge you to think outside the box and come up with quick-win projects for implementation by each of your ministries in order to achieve the goals of my vision. In that context, you may wish to consult in your ministries on outstanding strategic programmes that can be quickly implemented within the framework of the vision of this Government. I have availed copies of my acceptance speech for each one of you to guide you in coming up with the priority projects,” the President said.
“I have also instructed the Chief Secretary (to the President and Cabinet, Dr Misheck Sibanda) to assist you with details on unimplemented projects and previous Cabinet resolutions, from which you may identify areas for your priority attention. Out of this process, you should come up with a list of priority projects for presentation to the Cabinet office in a week’s time.”
The President said the projects identified should form the Cabinet agenda and ensure it functions on the basis of target-based programmes, with clear deliverables within set timeframes.
“I am sure you are aware that the advent of this dispensation has generated high expectations amongst all categories of our citizens, development partners and other stakeholders, who rightly see it as the dawn of a new era for Zimbabwe.”
President Mnangagwa said Minister of State for Presidential Affairs and Monitoring of Government Programmes, Cde Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, would be the Cabinet Chief Whip.
Cde Mumbengegwi, he said, would supervise implementation of Government policies, projects and programmes.
“Let us, therefore, proceed to deliver in line with the objectives of this target-driven Cabinet,” the President said.
“Our inaugural meeting comes against the backdrop of major socio-economic challenges that need to be urgently addressed. These include the scourge of corruption, the current liquidity crunch, low foreign direct investment inflows, low diaspora remittances, subdued export earnings and heavy dependency on imports. Other militating factors include low capacity utilisation by industry on account of the shortage of foreign currency, high country risk perception, policy inconsistency, poor service delivery, a ballooning budget deficit, a high level of unemployment and the devastating effects of economic sanctions.”
President Mnangagwa outlined his broad vision to guide his administration when he took the oath of office on November 24.
He said highlights of his vision included fostering aspects of market economy in which enterprise is allowed, encouraged and protected; promoting mutually beneficial partnerships with investors; ensuring people access their savings from banks as and when they require them; dealing decisively with corruption, prioritising economic growth; ensuring financial sector viability and stability; adopting a high performance culture in the public service and pursing a sturdy re-engagement with all nations of the world.
During his first few days in office, President Mnangagwa has so far won the hearts of many with his punctuality in office and hands-on approach to issues.
The President arrives at his office at 8 AM daily and ministers yesterday jokingly said they were not used to it.
One remarked; “Aaa vatouya (President Mnangagwa). Hatina kuzvijaira zvekumutswa makuseni akadai isu. (We are not used to waking up so early for work).”
President Mnangagwa has indicated sweeping measures are coming across various sectors to stimulate economic growth and create employment.