PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s first State of the Nation Address (SONA) delivered on Wednesday has set the tone for his reform agenda anchored on the crown values of honesty, transparency, accountability and hard work. The President largely dwelt on the economy which he said would be his top priority in the coming year as he set performance targets for each ministry.
He laid out various initiatives towards economic recovery that include combating corruption and promotion of good governance, revamping and or disposing of non-performing parastatals, robust re-engagement with the international community, infrastructure renewal, revamping health delivery and holding of a credible election in 2018.
The President’s address stayed true to his inauguration pledge to make sweeping reforms that will position Zimbabwe for economic growth. He also made reference to the National Budget presented by Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa which unveiled a number of austerity measures meant to cut Government expenditure and attract much needed Foreign Direct Investment.
President Mnangagwa also warned land barons in urban areas saying local authorities should return to proper town planning procedures and desist from setting up unplanned settlements.
“My Government has made the growing of the national economy a top priority. Key levers of this policy thrust have been covered in my Inauguration Speech delivered on 24th November, 2017 and in the 2018 National Budget Statement presented to this august House on 7th December, 2017,” President Mnangagwa said. “In line with my pledge to prioritise policy implementation, my Government has taken it upon itself to operate on the basis of a clear set of performance targets to be implemented by each ministry within a 100-day cycle as we seek to realise the aspirations of our people within the shortest time possible,” he said.
The President implored public officers to use resources economically and efficiently to achieve the intended goals. He said Government had taken a keen interest in the operations of State enterprises to improve accountability and honesty in service delivery.
“Government is putting in place concrete and comprehensive instruments in line with our new market economy thrust. We are determined to remove any policy inconsistencies to make Zimbabwe an attractive destination for capital. “The operationalisation of the One-Stop-Shop Investment Centre is now proceeding with renewed impetus,” he said.
To show that he is serious about attracting investment into the country, President Mnangagwa’s first foreign trip was to South Africa yesterday where he met Zimbabweans keen on coming back home to assist in the economic recovery efforts.
The President also met that country’s President Jacob Zuma and the two leaders discussed various issues. Clearly President Mnangagwa has his priorities in order judging by the positive vibes which have characterised his first weeks in office. He has led by example by inculcating a new work ethic in Government, cracking down on corruption as evidenced by the arrests of some bigwigs accused of corruption and announcing a range of policies aimed at making it easy for investors to do business in Zimbabwe.
In his SONA, the President said Government was carrying out a comprehensive review in the harmonisation of investment laws and policies to boost the drive for foreign direct investment. “Government will soon unveil a robust engagement and re-engagement programme with the international community in our continued bid to rejoin the community of nations.
“My Government is committed to open Zimbabwe up to investment by building a free and transparent economy which benefits Zimbabweans and is welcoming to outsiders,” President Mnangagwa said.
He added: “In line with the quest for increased job creation, there is need to expedite the establishment of the National Productivity Institute. The Institute will serve to promote the competitiveness of local industry. Closely related to the foregoing is the need to exploit existing social dialogue platform, the Tripartite Negotiating Forum, where Government, business and labour should collaborate and jointly implement the agreed social contract.”
We commend the President for his focused leadership which emphasises on a strong work ethic coupled with the key values of honesty, hard work and accountability.
We also hail his anti-corruption drive which is necessary in this country since a culture of impunity and rent seeking behaviour had permeated all facets of life.
We are confident that with the kind of leadership we have, a new Zimbabwe which is prosperous and corruption-free is possible.
What is needed is unity of purpose, hard work and the support of the international community to achieve a turnaround of the economy.
The huge turnout at the President’s meeting with Zimbabweans in Pretoria yesterday shows that our countrymen/women have the appetite to assist in this regard. They also have confidence in their new President that he can deliver on the promises he has made.
President Mnangagwa clearly laid out his vision in his first SONA, now it’s up to all Zimbabweans to help him fulfill the dream of making our country great once more.
Article Source: The Chronicle