‘Job creation top priority’
THE Government is “not afraid” to engage on job creation as it remains on track towards fulfilling its promise of transforming the economy through the implementation of its indigenisation-oriented policies, a Cabinet Minister has said.
Addressing journalists at the Bulawayo Press Club last Friday, the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development, Professor Jonathan Moyo, said any attempts to derail Government policy implementation would fail.
He said national policy, as enshrined in the five year-blueprint — the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim-Asset) — has suffered an onslaught from the country’s detractors and opposition who are bent on frustrating progress.
“These people who keep on saying where are the 2,2 million jobs, we will let the jobs count for themselves. Because we have the three years behind us, the two years now must be of policy orientation and that is why attempts to derail will not succeed because everybody is now wiser,” said Prof Moyo.
He said the latest wave of violent demonstrations by opposition parties and their appendages were a major hurdle to successful economic policy implementation.
Prof Moyo said this, together with the “Joice Mujuru factor” that resulted in the firing of rogue Zanu-PF members who wanted to topple President Mugabe in the run up to the 2014 congress, were also a major setback.
“We now cannot continue with the spirit of the last three years where spanners are thrown into the works to prevent the implementation of the President’s policy programmes, we can’t. We want everybody to understand that it is totally unacceptable. We cannot continue having people who know that we want indigenisation to be the driver of job creation and they assassinate indigenisation and say where are the jobs when they know that jobs are directly related to the indigenisation policy and that the indigenisation policy has been arrested. We now must allow the Government; allow the President’s policy programme for the remaining period before 22 July 2018 to be implemented,” said Prof Moyo.
He said experience in the last three years had made Zanu-PF wiser and renewed its commitment to hard work to ensure successful turnaround of the economy and fulfilment of promises made to the electorate in the run-up to the 2013 polls.
“But there is now a need to be very clear that the mandate that the President was given was not simply about the number of votes but to govern and implement a policy programme and those who do not like that policy programme, tough luck. This is a policy programme for the country intended to benefit everyone regardless of their political affiliation. So, this is what is before us going forward. We have got to implement policy, we have to be policy oriented and we know what the policy programme is,” Prof Moyo said.
“Fortunately because of the experience of the last three years there have been some adjustments and we are now very clear that housing is on the top priority going forward, We are also now very clear that SMEs are the way to go. The economy has mutated into these.”
He scoffed at exaggerated reports on company closures, which he said have deliberately given a wrong impression about the economic situation in Zimbabwe.
“People have been telling us about companies closing. In fact the story of company closures in Zimbabwe is quite amazing because we get the impression we have had an unlimited number of companies and they keep closing in their thousands and have been doing this since 1999,” said the minister.
“I think we have got to be reasonable and understand that out of the closures of some of these companies there are new formations and largely in the form of small and medium enterprises and there is serious job creation.”
Prof Moyo said the ongoing housing development efforts and support for SMEs have a game changing effect on the economy whose results would silence critics.
“Some people are going to cry because we will do housing, it will add to jobs that are being created. Already there have been massive programmes and projects on the housing front by individuals but now there will be a systematic policy programme and the same with SMEs including in our sector of Higher and Tertiary Education Science and Technology Development. Lots of young people are coming up with engineering and technological solutions and applications. Agriculture, there will be just a massive development. Agriculture creates millions of jobs. So you see, we are not afraid to engage on the job creation issue,” he said.