14 March 2017

Zimbabwe: PDP Mocks Mnangagwa's Command Economy Strategy

FORMER Finance Minister Tendai Biti's party has ridiculed Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa's push for a so-called command economy after the claimed success of a similar strategy in the agricultural sector.

"Mnangagwa recently told a gathering that the government is now working on a plan to introduce command strategy on everything including education and health," the People's Democratic Party (PDP) said in a statement Tuesday.

"As matter of fact Mnangagwa must attempt to command the reduction of roadblocks, an end to corruption and the insatiable appetite to fly in and out by the executive."

Zimbabwe is expecting a bumper harvest this year for which Mnangagwa is claiming credit after spearheading the government's $500m command agriculture scheme.

Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa has already revised economic growth upwards on the back of an improved agricultural season.

"We are anticipating growth in agriculture. In fact, we are revising growth in agricultural sector and in turn in overall growth," the minister.

However, some in cabinet, notable agriculture minister Joseph Made and higher education counterpart Jonathan Moyo, have been more cautious, saying the command scheme failed to achieve its target of two million tonnes of maize.

PDP accused Mnangagwa of misleading the country by claiming that the projected bumper harvest was down to the command scheme.

"He (Mnangagwa) used an unproven argument that command works because of the projected bumper harvest deliberately misinforming the nation that the harvest is a result of the command scheme," PDP spokesman Jacob Mafume said in the statement.

The opposition party said the scheme, which was mainly spear headed by members of the army, only benefited members of the ruling Zanu PF party.

"Farmers who are not directly linked to Zanu PF did not access the inputs. The percentage of the beneficiaries is, therefore, too insignificant to attribute a successful agriculture season to the program," Mafume said.

"As we mentioned before the loan used to fund the purchase of inputs in the scheme has inflated interest rates more importantly Zanu PF have always failed to put in place a mechanism to recover loans extended to their cronies.

"With that in mind it is inevitable for Zanu PF to force the people of Zimbabwe to repay the debt the same way they did with the RBZ debt.

"Using such a model in the broader economy will only serve to create more debts for the people of Zimbabwe while Zanu PF linked individuals continue to enjoy the fruits the dirty loans."

What the government should do instead according to PDP:

Attend to macroeconomic stability, in this regard we contend that fiscal discipline must be maintained and that the government must immediately resort to the principle of cash budgeting.

Financial Sector Stability and Liquidity by scraping the bond note, paying back the stolen RTGS balances, promotion of plastic money and in the long term facilitating a regional monetary union.

Industrialization through a shift from an extraction model to beneficiation, repealing the indigenisation law and investing in infrastructure which makes it easy to do business.

Rationalization of the 2017 Budget, reduce the Budget to an achievable target of USD3 Billion which can fully be covered by domestic revenues and also develop external partnerships that can take care of social sector obligation in areas like BEAM, flood victims support and drug procurement.

Retrenchment of Expenditure, rationalizing the wage bill by dealing with the issue of ghost works

State Owned Enterprises at least 30% of GDP is being drained through state owned enterprises that have become a vehicle of patronage. The state enterprises are increasing domestic debt making reform of the institutions urgent.

Restoration Of Land Value ,the revival of the agricultural sector is predicated upon the restoration of the land value through the issuance of land title i.e. title deeds to all the beneficiaries of the land reform program.

Mining, Zimbabwe is endowed with world class reserves of commodities which however are regulated by imperial regulation that promotes primitive accumulation and self-aggrandizement. There is need to create a framework for value addition, transparent allocation of mining rights and spatial linkages in the sector.

International Re-Engagement, end isolation of the nation, deal with the debt question and negotiate a martial plan aimed at reconstruction.


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