HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsComment: MTP good document but . . .

Comment: MTP good document but . . .

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Government will today unveil the five-year Medium-Term Plan (MTP) aimed at promoting economic growth and sustainable development in the country.

Cabinet approved the plan in May this year, and requires $9 billion to meet its objectives of achieving an average growth rate of 7% and a single-digit annual inflation of between 4-6%.

The government launched the MTP last year, but it took long for the document to be approved.

The new economic blueprint replaces the Short-Term Emergency Recovery Programme (Sterp) launched in 2009 when the wobbly coalition government was consummated.

The plan has been shot down by some critics who say it will only work when the liquidity crisis currently bedevilling the economy has been addressed. As it stands, the government is bankrupt.

There has never been a shortage of brilliant policy documents in this country, but what we have consistently failed to do as a nation has been to implement agreed positions.

However, one cannot implement a plan without financing. And so this boils down to the country’s politics!

The political environment is not conducive for a serious economic recovery programme.

We need to sort out our politics and economic fundamentals first. Political divisions and policy contradictions and inconsistencies within the inclusive government are not helping the situation.

There is also paralysis in policy implementation in government, among many other problems.

The critical question that begs for an answer as government launches this new economic blueprint is: How will this new monster be funded? Is it not a project that will simply gather dust? One shudders to think.

Zimbabwe has always been lagging behind other progressive nations because of the unwillingness to develop and implement workable policies.

Why are we always coming up with new plans, but then shelve them soon after the initiator leaves the government?

Economic Planning and Investment Promotion minister Tapiwa Mashakada says government will fund the MTP with monies coming from the sovereign wealth fund, domestic savings, restructuring of enterprises, local and foreign investments.

Through this economic plan, the government hopes to reverse de-industrialisation and stimulate economic growth in the economy.

Strangely, the sovereign wealth fund has not yet been created but the unveiling of the MTP will go ahead.

What is the rush if the government has not yet finalised on the way forward?

According Mashakada, if the government is to achieve goals set out in the MTP, it should address basic infrastructure requirements including high education and training, financial sophistication, technological readiness and science and technology.

If MTP priority areas are entrepreneurship development, employment creation, ICT, science and technology, human resources development, good governance, gender mainstreaming in all activities of the economy and macroeconomic stability, it must be left to live its full life if it is going to be useful to Zimbabweans.

It is our hope that the current account deficit of not more than 5% of GDP, average employment creation rate of 6% per annum and foreign exchange reserves of at least three months’ import cover by 2015 would be achieved during the five-year period.

The MTP should achieve double-digit savings and investment ratio of 20% of GDP by 2015 and a budget deficit of convergence to the Sadc benchmark of less than 5% of GDP by 2015.

This can only be achieved if the parties in the government work together as a team.

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