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Prioritise investment: Chinamasa

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FINANCE and Economic Development minister Patrick Chinamasa says there is need to prioritise investment ahead of consumptive expenditure and to redirect national resources towards production and industry.

BUSINESS REPORTER

Zimbabwe’s economy is virtually on a free-fall as investors withhold direct investment inflows citing government policy inconsistencies and unpaid debt.

Chinamasa told delegates attending a Buy Zimbabwe Public Procurement Conference in the capital last week that numerous economic challenges had arisen out of “resolving” the contentious land question.

This came after an MP in the budget and finance committee of Parliament, Eddie Cross, raised indignation at the prospect of another potentially disastrous wave of farm invasions.

Cross alluded to the recent Figtree Centenary farm invasion by deputy chief secretary in the Office of the President Ray Ndhlukula.

“Dairibord used to produce a quarter of a million litres of milk just before and after independence, it is now producing just 36 000 litres with packaging imported from South Africa.

“The problem is that of policy inconsistency, where government is saying one thing and doing another, this needs to be rectified. When you have a senior civil servant chasing a farmer away, this not only resonates across the world, but discourages investment,” said Cross.

He added that government needed to protect local entrepreneurs, regardless of who they were.

Chinamasa, however, said government had resolved the political question of land redistribution.

“I can’t see anything on the horizon that will disturb our political stability in the manner the land reform did. We now have a lot of challenges arising from resolutions of the land question. A lot of emotion and historical baggage was attached to it, but we are now restoring normalcy,” he said, adding that the recent invasion was an isolated incident.

Chinamasa said government did not have capital at affordable interest rates and was lacking in technology and managerial skills. He said Treasury was seized with addressing lines of credit and overall national debt.

Analysts say although debt was inevitable owing to government’s post-liberation war economic restructuring programmes, the repayment defaults had only served to accentuate the country’s challenges.

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