Friday, March 9, 2018

Mnangagwa spells out new economic development model

Government will soon introduce a new development model under which provincial authorities are allowed to draw up their own budgets and evaluate their own economic output as part of a broader vision by Government to accelerate national development.

The budgets and proposed development plans will be submitted to central Government for assessment before approval.

Speaking during his first interactive meeting with captains of industry in Harare yesterday, President Mnangagwa said the developmental model allowed competition among the provinces.

He said the country had entered a new era of action which doesn't allow meetings without results.

"In the spirit of fostering business innovation, competition and entrepreneurship among our country's 10 provinces, my Government is mooting the idea of establishing provincial GDP by industry," he said.

"It is critical to identify how much each province is contributing to GDP and where some are in slumber, a wake-up call will be made.

"In line with that thrust, the role of the retailing and wholesaling sector in economic development cannot be overemphasised. They help in the distribution, promotion, repackaging, rebranding and marketing of goods," he said.

To ensure rapid development, President Mnangagwa said Government was fighting corruption in all its forms.

He said a moratorium he issued for those who externalised money and other assets had been heeded by some, but ignored by others.

Among those who ignored the call, President Mnangagwa said, were prominent names. He promised to name and shame them on March 19.

Said President Mnangagwa: "After the expiry of my three-month moratorium for the return of externalised funds and assets, a total of US$250 million of the expected US$1,3 billion has been repatriated to Zimbabwe. I have since extended the moratorium by two weeks up to March 16 to allow the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to complete processing of externalised funds and assets whose return is impending. "We have 1 166 cases of externalisation, including some prominent names. On the 19th, I am going to publicise their names. Those who have returned the funds will not be publicised."

President Mnangagwa said in line with Government's message that Zimbabwe was open for business, it was important to continue reviewing immigration laws and visa requirements to ease the movement of people.

He said it was also important to come up with a tariff management system that conformed to the quest for industrialisation and regional integration.

"My Government is aware of the challenges at our borders and ports of entry," said President Mnangagwa. "Responsible authorities should strive to eliminate border porosity, smuggling, tax evasion and reduce cross-border crimes.

"Cases of corruption, extortion and bribery at our ports of entry and borders must stop. Officials at our ports of exit and entry must desist from all forms of corruption," he said.

"Unnecessary or deliberate delays in customs clearance and immigration procedures should not be allowed to happen as these tend to be conduits to solicit for bribes."

The President continued: "Let us bear in mind that our borders and ports of entry are the first faces of our nation to our visitors. Whatever happens there sends a signal and image about our economy. Let us remember that our country is centrally and strategically located in both the North, South, East, West corridors, and the country can become a regional logistics hub by railways, roads, power and telecommunications."

President Mnangagwa said Government was working at improving efficiency and putting necessary infrastructure at the country's ports of entry.

He said work was underway to establish one-stop border posts at Beitbridge and Victoria Falls.

Business leaders presented to the President a number of challenges they felt impeded national development.

Most of the challenges were cross-cutting among the sectors. The challenges include foreign currency shortages, failure by banks to accept 99-year leases and lax border control measures.