29 November 2012

Zimbabwe: President Tsvangirai Unveils Juice

The MDC in government's top priority is job creation, since there cannot be any real empowerment in the country if people have no jobs, President Tsvangirai has said.

The President made the call before thousands of people at a colourful event to launch the much awaited Jobs, Upliftment, Investment Capital and Environment (JUICE) economic blueprint at High Glen Shopping Centre in Harare today.

He said the MDC's economic blueprint is meant to bring about a holistic transformation of society since it is aimed at growing the national cake for the benefit of all the people. "Having a job is the best form of individual empowerment" said President Tsvangirai.

He castigated the then Zanu PF government of plunging the country into a permanent state of economic instability. "(Robert) Mugabe's record of failure is legendary and as such the JUICE policy was modelled along creating economic stability through rehabilitation of infrastructure and the resuscitation of the agricultural sector," said President Tsvangirai.

He further pointed out that the JUICE policy was meant to restore respect for human and property rights as well as inculcating a culture of entrepreneurship in the people of Zimbabwe saying the Zanu PF indigenisation policy was skewed and was benefiting only a few cronies in Zanu PF.

President Tsvangirai criticised Zanu PF's unorthodox economic system which he said had pushed genuine indigenous entrepreneurs "into exile." "We want to create a conducive business environment which will attract our genuine indigenous business people like Strive Masiiwa back into the country" he said.

The President said Zanu PF's indigenous policies were vindictive against those who do not fund the party and as such this had frustrated many potential Zimbabwean business people. He added that the 51 percent indigenisation threshold demanded by Zanu PF was unreasonable as it was scaring away potential investors. "Who will come to invest his money knowing very well that he has to forfeit a big chunk of it?" asked President Tsvangirai. The JUICE plan is inclusive as it is meant to promote growth, remove trade barriers and restore investor confidence.

"It is not about political change but real transformation of people's lives," said the President.

Vice President Thokozani Khupe said a peaceful environment is necessary for the promotion of development adding that it is incumbent upon leadership to denounce violence and promote peaceful coexistence.

Hon. Tendai Biti, the Minister of Finance, unpacked the key components of JUICE and laid out the 10 key issues of what the programme aims to achieve.

Hon. Biti said Zanu PF had created a model which does not celebrate growth and as such JUICE is set to deal with the moribund economic situation that Zanu PF perpetuated. He said Zanu PF had created a system of patronage and a crisis of misalignment of policy and action. "This situation has brought about poverty, joblessness and corruption" said Hon Biti.

The MDC Secretary General said JUICE's thrust is set to increase growth rate exponentially, further reduce inflation rate, deliver a US$100 billion economy, improve electricity generation and build a social contract.

Hon. Biti laid out the critical drivers of JUICE as democracy, inclusive participation, a stable micro economic system, public service reform, industrial transformation; broad-based economic empowerment agenda, the creation of a balanced economy, FDI and the greening of the environment.

He said JUICE provides for a totally integrated economy.

Hon. Tapiwa Mashakada the Minister of Economic Planning and Investment Promotion who is also the Deputy Secretary General outlined the importance of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) as a vehicle for growth, saying Zanu PF's inconsistent policies had blocked economic development. The minister added that Zanu PF's indigenisation policy was not inclusive but rather promoted expropriation, nationalisation, asset grabbing and thuggery by a few Zanu PF cronies.

"The MDC government will create a million jobs in the first five years in office," said Hon. Mashakada adding that money could only be created through investment promotion not indigenisation.

Minister Mashakada gave examples of successful indigenisation programmes in countries such as Malaysia, China, Singapore, saying Zanu PF's strategy was meant to share existing wealth among a few connected Zanu PF members without creating any new wealth.

The MDC Secretary for Economic Affairs, Hon. Elias Mudzuri said the programme is a blueprint to unlocking the unemployment crisis adding that it has the genuine intention of delivering economic prosperity to Zimbabwe.

The event was attended by diplomats, the business community; civic society members, senior party and government officials, residents, and thousands of party supporters.

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