Minister admits to policy inconsistency

BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA

INDUSTRY and Commerce minister Sekai Nzenza  has admitted that inconsistent and often outdated policies hinder implementation of key government strategies.

Nzenza was responding to Norton legislator Temba Mliswa, who accused the government of having too many economic strategy documents without reviewing or learning from the mistakes of previous blueprints at the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) sixth annual business review conference on Thursday.

“We grow tobacco in this country. Ninety-nine percent of the tobacco grown in this country is going out as raw and the finished product is sold elsewhere,” Nzenza said at the business ZNCC business review.

“Why can’t we make cigarettes inside this country, create jobs and bring in foreign currency inside this country? We now have a strategy which we are working with the Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement ministry. What is required going forward is that we will break down those silos between line ministries and work together cause that has been the problem where we don’t necessarily work together.”

She said there was need for ministries to work together as there was a whole value chain process to be explored.

“One of the key areas we are looking at, ladies and gentlemen, is the sugar industry — and, yes, I will admit that not only have some of our policies been inconsistent, some of them have been outdated,” Nzenza said.

“The Sugar Act, for example, goes back to 1964, but we are working on it and are already getting input from the private sector and the sugar farmers themselves.”

She said other industries they were looking at included dairy, steel and the motor vehicle industries.

In recent memory, this inconsistency has been seen with the removal of the multi-currency regime in June last year in favour of the Zimbabwe dollar through Statutory Instrument (SI) 142 of 2019.

But in March this year, the same officials changed its policies and brought back the United States dollar into the market to be used in tandem with the local currency under SI 85 of 2020.

“We tend to be dishonest with our ministers and I blame you (business community) all. You (government) like writing documents, but we never review the documents,” Mliswa said.

“The economic blueprint, we had ‘ZimAsset’; from ZimAsset without reviewing it we went to the 10-Point Plan, without reviewing it, we went to the Transitional Stabilisation Programme, without reviewing, we went to the National Development Strategy 1 (2021- 2025).”

“There is no country which is serious which survives on five-year plans. A five-year plan, for people in the corporate world here, is what a company does.

“As a nation, you are talking about 20, 25 or 30 years. Look at China. You don’t hear China talking about a five-year plan…you must leave a plan for generations.”

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