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Sham Zanu PF govt failing to resuscitate industry

By Tapiwa Mashakada

The MDC alternative Cabinet continues to express its utter disgust and concern at the failure of the Zanu PF administration to resuscitate industry, eight months after forming a sham government.

Tendai Biti, Tapiwa Mashakada and Nelson Chamisa
Tendai Biti, Tapiwa Mashakada and Nelson Chamisa

At the core of the crisis is the lack of confidence that resulted from the stolen elections. This lack of confidence has had a boomerang effect across all the sectors of the economy but mainly manufacturing, mining, agriculture, tourism and the financial services sector. The confidence crisis has now transformed itself into a national crisis of expectation, legitimacy and leadership.

The Alternative Cabinet views this continued downward spiral as a failure by the Zanu PF regime to leverage our natural resources which has been worsened by hostile domestic and foreign policies that discourage investors.

Consequently, millions of Zimbabweans are finding themselves out of the job market on a daily basis. Many companies failed to re-open since the beginning of the year due to the liquidity crunch that continues to chew into the livelihoods of the people.

In a nation where natural resources are vast, the clueless Zanu PF government has failed to make use of the mining industry to get the economy kicking again.

In fact the mining sector has failed to provide the Eldorado for the economy in the sense that the diamond sub sector has not benefited the economy at large. Zimbabwe remains among 10 least attractive mining investment destinations, ranking 106 out of the 112 countries.

As a result of this poor performance, the country has for the first time since the Inclusive government, failed to pay civil servants on time, or even to give them a reasonable increment, while over two million children have been left out of school and more Zimbabweans are struggling to make ends meet.

The Agricultural output remains subdued due to high input costs and the unavailability of credit lines to support and sustain farming. The so called bumper harvest that Dr Made promised is therefore going to be a pie in the sky.

This has caused a decrease in output and unemployment continues to rise as fewer farms remain operational. In rural areas, subsistence farmers who at one time could make a proper living off their produce and supply food to urban centers can no longer produce even enough to feed themselves. The nation has been reduced to a beggar population or at most a big supermarket for neighboring South Africa.

Further, the failure to prioritise support for the agricultural industry has resulted in the slow death of the textiles industry. That Zanu PF has failed to realize the importance of this industry has made it more difficult for cotton farmers to make a living from the produce thereby causing the shutting down and or scaling down in operation of the clothing industry, forcing million others out of their jobs.

The Zanu PF administration should be reminded that the supreme law of the nation identifies, as part of its national objectives, the need to facilitate rapid and equitable development and to take measures, with the participation of the people, to foster agricultural, commercial, industrial, technological and scientific development.

Zanu PF must indeed be reminded that its failure to provide employment opportunities to millions of Zimbabweans and its failure to protect the same from the vagaries of poverty as obtaining in this country, is an infringement of their basic rights as provided for in our Constitution.

It is common cause that the problems facing this country range from rapid de-industrialization, low capacity utilization, obsolete equipment, skills flight, power shortages, infrastructure decay and policy inconsistencies.

Any serious government would know that Industry and Commerce is vital for any economy to stand. Such bad policies like the Indigenization policy need to be revisited and the 51% threshold has to be scrapped from our statutes if Zanu PF is serious about reviving the economy of Zimbabwe and creating 2.2 million jobs.

The MDC Alternative Cabinet therefore proposes that serious engagements be made with major stakeholders in order to respond to the growing identified demands for industrial capacity development.

There is need for a cluster driven approach in order to channel resources adequately and productively with all players adhering to sound corporate governance principles underpinned by transparency, accountability and most critically eradication of corruption.

In return, they should be given specific and targeted support for access to low cost, medium to long term financing and technical support, tax and other start up benefits on an individual basis as well as support for special concessions such as access to energy and other inputs under specially negotiated conditions.

Further, the only way to deal with the crisis of leadership and legitimacy is for the people of Zimbabwe’s will for a government they want to be honoured. Zanu PF stole the 2013 election, thereby bastardising the will of the people and killing the hope they carried for a better Zimbabwe.

Now the national economy is lying flat on its back. It is going to take an honest people, and a hint of love to turn back the fortunes of this nation. This will be impossible under the current clueless regime which thrives on hatred, malice and plunder.

It is not surprising therefore that the calls for Zanu PF to deliver on its promises are getting louder by the day and may explode into a national protest. It is now clear to all and sundry that the economy is on auto pilot and the current policy paralysis the country is going through calls for Zimbabwe to go back to the drawing board.

Zimbabweans are ready to take charge and redirect the course of their struggle for democracy, good governance and rule of law. It is a matter of time, but we, in the MDC, believe that a new Zimbabwe is inevitable.

Tapiwa Mashakada is the MDC-T shadow Minister for Industry and Commerce