Nduduzo Tshuma, Political Editor
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday said the country is on a new path towards prosperity calling for unity of purpose among Zimbabweans as a brighter future depends on every individual.
President Mnangagwa made the sentiments during his State of the Nation Address as he opened the third session of the Ninth Parliament virtually, in compliance with Covid-19 prevention measures.
The President’s calls come as the Government has recorded a number of successes across sectors despite a number of setbacks including the western imposed illegal sanctions, effects of Covid-19 and successive droughts among other challenges.
“I wish to remind us all that first and foremost, we are Zimbabweans. This is our only home and our motherland.
“We are on a new path. A path towards a modern, prosperous and stronger Zimbabwe. I encourage you all to be partners in this journey. Let us be decisive, deliberate, purposeful and thorough in all our actions,” said President Mnangagwa.
“A brighter future depends on all of us. We are stronger when we work together. We are stronger when we believe and work hard to achieve our plans and vision.
“No matter the challenges and no matter the obstacles whether natural or man-made, let us always seek to promote our national interests, in unity and love, for the development and prosperity of our beloved country.”
The President said the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP) which elapsed this year, after achieving desired results, was a cause for optimism in the future.
He said the Government will soon launch the First Five-Year National Development Strategy: 2021-2025 (NDS 1) building on the successes of the Transitional Stabilisation Programme.
The NDS 1 will guide the formulation of the 2021 National Budget, which will provide more detail on the state of the economy.
He said the foreign exchange auction system has resulted in stability in the economy, the exchange rate and prices of goods and services.
President Mnangagwa said in spite of the global and local economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, exports increased by 4,9 percent to US$1,96 billion during the first half of 2020 from US$1,86 billion in 2019, for the comparative period.
He said imports declined by 5,9 percent, from US$1,96 billion to US$1,84 billion, during the 2019 and 2020 first-half comparative periods.
The President said foreign currency receipts have performed better than anticipated, appreciating by 18 percent as at the end of August 2020.
This, he said, coupled with Diaspora remittances should continue to anchor and drive further stability.
President Mnangagwa said the reported increased certification of new products by the Standards Association of Zimbabwe signals the growth of industry and employment creation.
“We expect the trend of the positive trade balance to be sustained through increased productivity and exports, across all sectors of the economy,” he said.
In line with the performance-oriented and results-driven culture towards the attainment of Vision 2030, the reform of State enterprises and parastatals remains top on the Government’s agenda, the President said.
He said strong structural and administrative frameworks will be enforced; together with good corporate governance, accountability, transparency, productivity and profitability in all state-owned entities.
President Mnangagwa reiterated the Second Republic’s zero tolerance to corruption saying justice will be pursued without fear of favour.
President Mnangagwa said the historic signing of the Global Compensation Agreement symbolised his Government’s commitment to the entrenchment of constitutionalism, the rule of law and respect for property rights.
He called for maximum productivity following forecasts of a normal-to-above normal 2020/2021 rainfall season.
“I commend communities throughout the country for the land preparations made under the Presidential Climate Proofed Agriculture Programme, Intwasa/Pfumvudza. The Presidential Input Support Scheme will see over 1,8 million households being supported with free inputs to grow maize and traditional grains; while cotton farmers will also continue to receive support. Input distribution under this facility has commenced in earnest,” said President Mnangagwa.
He said the Government has resolved to roll out the Presidential Horticulture Scheme following the opening up of the horticulture space for rural communities as a vehicle for improved economic inclusion and empowerment.
The President said the accelerated resuscitation and development of irrigation schemes and construction of dams in all the country’s provinces will help climate agriculture against the adverse effects of climate change.
To meet funding gaps, the President said, private sector led financing models are being rolled out for farmers to access both mechanisation and inputs.
President Mnangagwa said the stability in power supplies owing to improved hydro-power generation at Kariba Dam and increased energy output at the thermal power plants has had a positive impact on productivity across all sectors of the economy.
He said independent power producers are equally poised to feed additional power onto the national grid, by the second quarter of 2021.
The President said ongoing coal mining projects in Hwange District, will translate into an increased national generation capacity of more than 6 000 Megawatts by 2025.
“This will see Zimbabwe becoming a net exporter of energy. Works on the Hwange 7 and 8 Expansion Project will be expedited following delays as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said President Mnangagwa.
He said fuel supplies had stabilised following a raft of measures by the Government.
The President said measures will be put in place to strengthen competitiveness in the fuel and energy sectors through innovations by institutions of Higher Learning such as the Harare Institute of Technology.
President Mnangagwa said ongoing road construction, modernisation and rehabilitation projects across the country will enhance connectivity and facilitate greater economic trade locally and in the region.
He said use of local financial resources, skills and companies is yielding impressive results and the model will be vigorously pursued going forward, in other infrastructure projects.
President Mnangagwa said the Government has ensured timely and appropriate interventions for the vulnerable and food insecure households.
He said more than 700 000 households receive grain per month while others are benefiting from the cash-for-grain programme under the Urban Feeding Programme.
The Schools Feeding Programme, he said, is being resourced and over one million children will be assisted under the Basic Education Assistance Module.
He said reforms in the health service sector will improve accessibility and affordability of health and medicines while the National Housing Fund and Housing Guarantee Fund will be recapitalised.
The President said consultations in the Tripartite Negotiating Forum were going on well towards the establishment of an Unemployment Benefit Fund that will cover workers in case of retrenchment, or natural disasters which cause work stoppages.
“Related to this, I have directed the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare to set up a robust Labour Market Information System, to facilitate the provision of timeous, reliable labour market information and associated policies,” said President Mnangagwa.
“Government takes note of the legitimate calls for better working conditions by our teachers, health workers and public service in general. We will do our best to ameliorate their concerns and improve their plight.”
President Mnangagwa called for the removal of sanctions against Zimbabwe as he paid tribute to Sadc, the African Union member states and others nations that have echoed the call.
He said the security forces are doing a sterling job in the maintenance of law and order and those who dare to engage in unlawful activities will face the full wrath of the law.
President Mnangagwa hailed Zimbabweans for co-operation and resilience during the Covid-19 scourge and while the economy is opening up, urged the nation to adhere to the World Health Organisation prevention guidelines.
“Government made a deliberate decision to reopen schools to enable our children, who constitute our rich future human resource endowment, to conclude the year and progress to the next grades in the coming year. We will redouble efforts to ensure that syllabi are completed and examinations proceed smoothly, in a safe, secure and stable environment, for both teachers and learners,” said President Mnangagwa.
Meanwhile, President Mnangagwa called on Parliament to work with speed in passing all outstanding Bills covering all sectors of the economy whose enactment will help to deepen the ongoing economic reforms as well as entrench constitutionalism and the country’s democratic culture.