Harare — INFLATION is militating against poverty reduction but Government's decision to introduce a social contract and the current price controls will help deal with Zimbabwe's number one enemy, a Cabinet minister has said.
Speaking at a meeting organised by the United Nations in Harare on Friday, the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Cde Nicholas Goche, said Government and its partners -- business and labour -- had promoted the social contract to bring about price stability.
"Government has hammered out the social contract with partners which, if implemented in good faith, will bring about price stability.
"To enforce the social contract, Government has put in place a Price Monitoring and Stabilisation Taskforce which is working with manufacturers and retailers in the stabilisation of prices.
"This will go a long way in increasing access to basic goods and services by vulnerable members in our society as well as increasing their disposable incomes, hence raising them out of poverty," said Cde Goche in a speech read on his behalf by his Permanent Secretary, Mr Lance Museka.
He said a lot of effort has been made to lobby the enforcement of Millennium Development Goals in all sectors.
"The Government, through my ministry, and with the support of other United Nations branches has embarked on an MDGs localisation process in order to sensitise and raise awareness.
"This process should see MDGs mainstreamed in all planning and programming processes at local level," Cde Goche said.
The goals centre on poverty reduction and guarantee human rights, he said.
"The proportion of people below both Food and Total Consumption Poverty lines increased between 1995 and 2003. During the same period, the Human Poverty and Human Development indices also indicate worsening poverty situations.
"The main factors that have contributed to this trend are the recurrent drought as well as the unfavourable macro-economic environments," the minister said.
Government has put in place a number of measures to deal with the situation. .
"Government has set up a number of taskforces to spearhead the programming of strategies aimed at improving the welfare of the populace in both urban and rural areas," he said.
Government is implementing a programme to revive the economy driven by the agricultural sector.
"Government is putting more efforts on economic recovery through the agricultural mechanisation programme, direct subsidies to agriculture production through favourable producer prices as well as availing agricultural inputs to farmers through special loan facilities by Agribank and the central bank," he said.
MDGs are a set of targets which world leaders have agreed to ensure they are met to ensure poverty reduction, education, maternal health, gender equality, combating child mortality, HIV/Aids and other diseases.
United Nations Development Programme resident representative Dr Agostinho Zacarias said the UN was assisting Zimbabwe achieve the MDGs.
"In the area of poverty reduction, I would like to acknowledge the significant progress made so far in laying the foundation for the formulation of the Zimbabwe Economic Development Strategy which will be a framework for stimulating both economic growth and poverty reduction," Dr Zacarias said.