National Development Strategy 1 off the rails

ON October 16, 2020, government through the Finance and Economic Development ministry launched the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1).

The NDS1 was expected to charter the course of the economy for the period 2021-25 and set a footing for the NDS 2 which will shape the socio-economic trajectory from 2026-30 in line with Vision 2030’s aspiration theme Towards a Prosperous and Empowered Upper Middle- Income Society by 2030.

Although government is already claiming successes of the NDS1, the situation on the ground proves otherwise, making the assertion by government unfounded.

The NDS1 was built on 14 priority areas, which are:

  • Economic growth and stability of national development
  • Food and nutrition security
  • Moving the economy up the value chains
  • Transport, infrastructure and utilities
  • Digital economy
  • Housing delivery
  • Human capital development and innovation
  • Health and well-being
  • Image building, engagement and re-engagement
  • Devolution and decentralisation
  • Youths, sports and culture
  • Social protection
  • Governance
  • Environmental protection, climate resilience, and natural resource management

However, an examination of the set priority areas versus the stated key result area targets at the end of the NDS1 document shows that the government has successfully failed to attain the intended goals.

The economy continues to shrink coupled with conflicting and confusing monetary policies.

Health and well-being have been found wanting, with the public health sector in shambles, thereby undermining human capital development and innovation.

Food nutrition and security have proven to be unattainable as evidenced by the findings of the National Vulnerability Assessment Analysis, Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee, and the Regional Vulnerability Assessment Analysis.

Approximately 3,8 million rural people and 1,8 urban people are said to be food insecure.

The economy is yet to move up the value chains as trade injustices and monopolies continue to proliferate in various sectors of the economy.

The tobacco, sugar cane, and mining sectors are cases in point.

Optimum housing delivery remains a wish for the general populace except for Cabinet ministers, deputies, judges, security service chiefs, and permanent secretaries.

At the same, the youth and women continue to be relegated in governance issues and are only given positions through women and youth quotas as tokenism.

A deliberate negation of social protection services has also been witnessed in the past three years of NDS1 implementation through underfunding.

Devolution and decentralisation are constantly under threat.

Therefore, taking into consideration the above, the assertion that NDS1 is a success does not hold water.

The claims show that government has learned nothing from policy successes that do not fulfil intended goals and objectives.

The NDS1, just like the Zimbabwe Programme For Economic And Social Transformation, National Economic Revival Programme, Millenium Economic Recovery Programme, Short Term Economic Recovery Programme, Zimbabwe Agenda For Sustainable Socio-economic Transformation and Transitional Stabilisation Programme, has failed to capture the reality on the ground.

It remains a good economic blueprint that has not been optimally implemented.

The claim that the NDS1 was a success is detrimental to Vision 2030, national growth, and development as it sets a wrong footing for the emergence of NDS2.

Thus, creating a false foundation that is not watertight to inform the formulation of the NDS2.

This is a policy disaster of the century.

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