30 November 2012

Zimbabwe: MDC-T Economic Blueprint Under Fire

The MDC-T finally launched its economic blueprint dubbed Jobs, Upliftment, Investment, Capital and Environment (Juice) at High Glen Shopping Mall in Harare yesterday.

According to the MDC-T, the programme seeks to create over one million jobs between 2013 and 2018 and attract at least 30 percent of Gross Domestic Product in foreign direct investment. The programme also aims to attain a sustained eight percent economic growth and a US$100 billion economy by 2040. In his address during the launch, MDC-T president Mr Morgan Tsvangirai said the country was facing a crisis of unemployment and needed to attract foreign investment.

"One crisis we have is the absence of jobs for the youths and the problem is that they are now the biggest part of our population. There will never be any empowerment unless one goes to work and earn a salary," he said.

The blueprint, seeks to improve relations with the Western world without calling for the removal of illegal sanctions that have greatly affected industry. MDC-T deputy secretary general Tapiwa Mashakada criticised the empowerment programmes pronounced by Zanu-PF saying they were benefiting a few people and elitists. He said the programmes would not grow the economy. However, Zanu-PF spokesperson, Cde Rugare Gumbo, refuted the allegation saying the benefits of the empowerment programmes were there for all to see.

"Thousands of people benefited from the land reform while more are benefiting from empowerment schemes in the industry. Our programmes are practical and there for all to see. They should instead call for the removal of sanctions so that our people can trade freely and access lines of credit to develop their businesses," he said.

Political analysts slammed the programme for overly relying on foreigners.

University of Zimbabwe based political analyst Dr Charity Manyeruke said Juice was not a solution to the economic challenges affecting the country.

"Juice is not a solution for this country because it's externally driven. We should help our people venture into manufacturing and value addition. Relying on foreigners is tantamount to externalising our economy.

"FDI is not a solution for this country, indigenisation and empowering our people is the way to develop ourselves. Expecting other people to come and develop our country will not help us because most of them are having problems of their own," she said.

Dr Manyeruke said while foreigners were welcome to do business in the country they should partner locals. Another political analyst Goodwine Mureriwa echoed similar sentiments saying the world over people were now fighting to be masters of their own destiny.

"If you see the struggles the world over today are about people wanting to control their means of production and for the MDC-T to come up with a blueprint based on expectations that some people will come from somewhere to help us boggles the mind. These calls by people in South America and even our neighbours in South Africa are an indication that FDI will not benefit the generality of the population but the owners of the capital," he said.

Mr Mureriwa said the success of the community and employee share ownership schemes was an indication that companies were beginning to appreciate the indigenisation programme as a way to safeguard their investment in a sustainable manner.

"The indigenisation programme is actually a way to sustain and protect investments given that there is involvement from workers and local communities at all levels of production. Such an arrangement reduces friction among all the parties involved," he added.

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