In Full: Eighth cabinet post briefing: 13 March 2022

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cabinet briefing

ZIMBABWE’S RESPONSE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC AND REPORT ON THE PROCUREMENT AND ROLLOUT OF VACCINES
Cabinet received an update on the country‘s response to the Covid-19 pandemic  presented by the Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care, Honourable, Dr. C.G.D.N. Chiwenga.

The nation is advised that as at 11 April, 2022, Zimbabwe’s cumulative Covid-19 cases stood at 247 010, with 240 496 recoveries and 5 460 deaths. The recovery rate was 97%, with 1 054 active cases being recorded.

Regarding case management, infection prevention and control, the number of people in need of hospitalisation for Covid-19 decreased, with the country’s bed occupancy rate receding from 1.5% during last week to 0.9% this week.

On the national vaccination programme, as of 11 April, 2022, a total of    5 730 327 first doses have been administered, with 3 597 602 people having received their second dose and 539 837 their third dose of the vaccine. The national coverage of the first dose vaccination is now 51%.

The nation is also being advised to remain vigilant as winter is fast approaching and the country readies for the Easter and Independence Day holidays. Accordingly, all citizens are urged to continue adhering to the laid down World Health Organisation protocols at all times.

UPDATE ON THE 2022 NATIONAL POPULATION AND HOUSEHOLD CENSUS
The Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Honourable Professor Mthuli Ncube, presented the Update on the 2022 National Population and Household Census.

Cabinet wishes to inform the public that preparations for the 2022 Population and Housing Census are on track, with Levels 1 and 2 training having been completed in March 2022. Cabinet highlights that the bulk of the personnel is drawn from the teaching fraternity, youth and other civil servants from the security sector.

To avoid collective or institutional households, Cabinet advises the nation that all institutions of higher learning will be closed from 18 to 30 April, 2022. Closure of the institutions will pave the way for the enumeration of students in their usual households. Church members are similarly encouraged to be at their places of residence between 18 and 30 April to allow the smooth conduct of the census.

STATE PARTY REPORT UNDER THE CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
The Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Hon. Professor Paul Mavima presented the State Party Report under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which was approved by Cabinet.

Government wishes to inform the public that the Report outlines the legislative, administrative, policy and other measures adopted by the country to implement the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities since ratification of the Convention in 2013. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities comprises 33 Articles, which provide for substantive rights and freedoms. A stakeholder approach was utilized in compiling the report covering 33 Articles

  • That Zimbabwe harmonized national laws, policies and programmes to advance the rights of persons with disabilities;
  • That, under Article 5, focusing on equality and non-discrimination, the country developed affirmative action policies and programmes such as the Equalisation of Employment Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities Policy in the Public Sector to avail employment opportunities to the disabled. As of November 2019, a total of 703 persons with disabilities had been employed by the Public Service Commission;
  • Under Article 6 on the equal right of men and women to the enjoyment of civil, economic and political rights, the country established the Zimbabwe Gender Commission to promote gender equality in all public institutions, investigate cases of violation of gender equality and providing effective remedies. For example, in 2017 Government established the Zimbabwe Women’s Micro Finance Bank (ZWMB) to improve access to affordable capital and operational finance by women.
  • Under Article 8, on children with disabilities, the pertinent legal provisions include the establishment of the Child Welfare Council under the Children’s Act and the development of the National Orphan Care Policy. Children under the age of five years are entitled to free medical and rehabilitation services at all Government medical institutions;
  • On equal recognition before the law under Article 12, Constitutional and Legislative measures are in place to ensure protection of the right to acquire property. The Disability Revolving Loan Facility was put in place to address lack of capital amongst entrepreneurial Persons with Disabilities and has a national coverage;
  • Regarding freedom of expression and opinion, and access to information, in addition to the constitutional and legislative measures in place, Government, Development Partners and organisations of Persons with Disabilities developed two dictionaries, namely the Zimbabwe Sign Language Dictionary and the HIV and AIDS Sign Language Dictionary. The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings introduced the use of sign language to disseminate information in its broadcasting.
  • Pertaining to the right to health, in addition to the District, Provincial, Central hospitals and some mission hospitals that provide specialised rehabilitation therapy and assessments for persons with disabilities, the following specialised institutions are also available for prevention of impairments and rehabilitation of the disabled people. These include the following: Ruwa National Rehabilitation Centre; Ingutsheni; United Bulawayo Hospital; Parirenyatwa Orthopaedic Centre; Tsanga Lodge; Mlondolozi and Jairos Jiri

In summary, the Report shows that Zimbabwe has made great strides in ensuring that Persons with Disability live in equality with others. As a nation, the country will remain fully committed to improving the rights and welfare of Persons with Disabilities.

PREPARATIONS FOR THE 42ND INDEPENDENCE ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS AND THE 2022 CHILDREN’S PARTY
The Minister of Local Government and Public Works Honourable July Moyo, as the Acting Chairman of the Cabinet Committee on State Occasions, briefed Cabinet on the 42nd Independence Anniversary Celebrations and the 2022 Children’s Party.

Preparations for the 42nd Independence Anniversary Celebrations which will be held under the theme “ZIM@42: LEAVING NO ONE AND NO PLACE BEHIND” on 18 April, are at an advanced stage.  The Celebrations will commence on 16 April, 2022 with the lighting of the Independence Flame at Khami National Monument. The Independence Torch lighting ceremony which will be officiated by the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution will be punctuated by arts and cultural acts from the region. The function will also be attended by some Cabinet Ministers.

On a related matter, Cabinet is advising that the national fabric will henceforth be available from the National Handicraft Centre and the National Art Galleries in Harare, Mutare and Bulawayo. In Bulawayo, the national fabric can also be purchased from some retail outlets as well as from Mhlahlandhela Building.

2021 SECOND HALF–YEAR PERFORMANCE REPORT OF THE NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY 1: 2021-2025 (NDS)
Cabinet considered and adopted the 2021 Second Half–Year Performance Report of the National Development Strategy 1: 2021-2025 (NDS) as presented by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Hon. Prof. M. Ncube.

The nation is advised that implementation of NDS1 has largely been successful despite the adverse effects of the COVID-19 and the exchange rate induced inflationary pressures in the economy.   The second half-year performance report highlights the progress registered by all the 14 National Priorities.

  1. On the economic growth front, the national GDP growth for 2021 stood at 7.8%, mainly on account of the good 2021 agriculture season, higher international mineral commodities’ prices, a general stable macroeconomic environment that enabled the domestication of some value chain, and better management of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Inflation significantly declined from 837.5% in July 2020 to 60.7% in December 2021.  The Auction System ensured a stable exchange rate and an uninterrupted supply of foreign currency to the economy. The external sector remained favourable due to inter-alia strong performance of exports, diaspora remittances as well as other services of foreign currency in the economy.
  2. Pertaining to food and nutrition security, Cabinet reports that a total of 2 717 171 metric tonnes of maize was produced in the 2020/2021 agricultural season against a national requirement of 2.2 million metric tonnes. Production of milk over national requirements stood at 46%.  Beef production as a percentage of national requirements stood at 79% against a target of 46% resulting in a positive variance of 33%. In order to improve animal nutrition, Government has put in place the Livestock Growth Plan;
  3. On image building, Cabinet advises that Government efforts saw eight community radio stations being licensed in September 2021, bringing to fourteen such radio broadcasters to promote diversity and plurality. AIPPA was repealed and replaced with the Freedom of Information Act.
  4. Regarding youth, sport, arts and culture a total of 22 000 youths have accessed empowerment opportunities’ in all sector. Further a total of 25 out of 27 training centres were refurbished.
  5. The Food Deficit Mitigation Strategy Programme distributed 8 910.17 metric tonnes to 1.443 million households during the second half of 2021. Under the Harmonized Social Cash Transfer programme, Government continued supporting 78 000 households, while Development Partner UNICEF is reaching out to 9 725 households with Emergency Social Cash Transfers. The BEAM programme reached out to 1 015 000 vulnerable children with educational assistance from both Government and Development Partners for primary and secondary as at 13th December 2021.  A total of 388 students with disabilities were supported with vocational fees in institutions of higher learning, whilst 171 individuals were supported with assistive devices as of the end of November 2021.  In addition, 2 450 persons with disabilities were supported through institutions with administration grants. Furthermore, for the State Service (Disability) Benefits for injury/death on duty for government employees cumulative claims processed for payment was 1 045 as at December 2021.
  6. A total of 370 676 tourist arrivals were recorded against a target of 1.1 million during the first half of 2021. Regarding tourism investment, US$141.2 million was recorded against a target of US$280 million. Current performance on investment is attributed to Tourism rebates put in place by Government to assist the growing appetite to invest in the tourism sector.
  7. Cabinet reports that successful implementation of the NDS1 requires full participation and commitment of all stakeholders through the Thematic Working Groups which were established during the NDS1 formulation process, comprising Government and Non-State Actors’ representatives. Full operationalisation of the NDS1 Coordination Structure as well as NDS1 Monitoring and Evaluation Framework and the whole of Government Performance Management System allows Government and stakeholders to track progress in the implementation of the Strategy’s targets.
  8. Digital economy is on a growth trajectory.

THE MONITORING AND EVALUATION FRAMEWORK OF THE  NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY 1 (NDS1) FOR 2022

Cabinet considered and adopted the Monitoring and Evaluation Framework of the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) for 2022 as presented by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Hon. Prof. M. Ncube.

The nation is advised that on 24 May 2021 Cabinet made a decision that some of the key Performance Indicators were not frequent enough to enable effective and regular monitoring and evaluation of the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) implementation process. Following consultations within the Thematic Working Groups and with the support from Cooperating Partners, a comprehensive Key Performance Indicators review was undertaken, resulting in an updated Monitoring and Evaluation Framework of the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1).

Key among the new KPIs under the Economic Growth and Stability Pillar are the following: the quarterly money targets and money exchange movement rate; the ratio of wage bill to revenues and the ratio of banked adults as a percentage of the total adult population.

Under the Food and Nutrition Security Pillar, an indicator on food secure people (disaggregated by rural or urban) was introduced to measure the outcome of improved food security.

The nation is advised that under the Moving the Economy Up the Value Chain and Structural Transformation Pillar, KPIs that measure the following variables were added: values of imported Urea and AN; changes in export sales of processed leather products manufactured and changes in export sales of leather products from tanneries.

Under the Infrastructure and Utilities, new KPIs were introduced which met the quarterly reporting frequency criteria. In this regard, in order to generate standard data comparable to global and regional reports, the Thematic Working Group added a KPI on Zimbabwe’s ranking in overall infrastructure out of 137 countries, which is published annually by the African Development Bank. However, under the Devolution Work programme, there are designs to construct local Provincial and a National Infrastructure Index.

To measure the national Outcome of Improved Access to Affordable Quality Housing and Social Amenities, two KPIs, namely number of housing units and percentage changes of households with access to social amenities were replaced by four new indicators. A new national Outcome, Improved Wetland Area Under Protection was introduced and it has one KPI, namely area of wetlands freed from settlements (ha), expressed as a percentage of designated wetlands.

The Youth, Sport, and Culture Thematic Working Group revised the 2022 Monitoring and Evaluation Framework by introducing new KPIs to measure social cohesion, as expressed in terms of increases in the levels of participation in arts, culture, sport and recreation festivals.

The 2022 M&E framework indicators were also improved by ensuring that specific proxies were identified to approximate poverty datum levels reductions. Other new improved indicators include number of beneficiaries covered by food assistance disaggregated by sex, disability, child-headed household and the number of beneficiaries covered by Harmonised Social Cash Transfers (HSCT), amongst others.

A new indicator on survivors of drug and substance abuse, who were rehabilitated was introduced in the M&E framework in order to track drug and substance abuses.

Under the Governance Pillar, two more KPIs were added concerning Improved Justice Service Delivery, namely clearance rate of court cases, proportion of criminal cases reported and completed as well as the national corruption index that captures developments in terms of corruption.

The Nation is advised that to ensure synchronisation of reporting with the Mid-Term Fiscal Review and Mid-Term Monetary Policy Statement, Review Reports to Cabinet will be made bi-annually and published in the interest of transparency and accountability. The Thematic Working Groups will continue to submit their NDS1 Quarterly Progress Reports to the Tripartite for administrative purposes.

I THANK YOU