Devolution agenda bears fruit

The Chronicle

Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
THE Government’s devolution agenda is bearing fruit as inequalities existing in the distribution of wealth across provinces are being tamed.

Data released by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZimStat) yesterday, show that Harare province’s share, though still enjoying the largest chunk of the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) far ahead other areas, has gone down to 25,4 percent of the country’s total amounting to $1,2 trillion in 2020.

The other nine provinces namely: Bulawayo, Mashonaland West, Midlands, Manicaland, Masvingo, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland Central, Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South, shared the remaining 74,6 percent.

GDP is the final value of goods and services produced within the geographic boundaries of a given area during a year and it is broadly viewed as a key indicator of the economic performance of that given area.

Previously, according to the 2012-2018 data compiled by ZimStat, Harare’s share from the national GDP was 39, 55 percent but the 2019-2020 figure has fallen by 14,2 percent to $294 billion.

According to latest provincial GDP statistics, Bulawayo accounted for 13,4 percent of the $1,2 trillion national GDP followed by Mashonaland West at 11,5 percent, Midlands (11,3 percent), Manicaland (8,9 percent) while Masvingo and Mashonaland East had 7,3 percent and 6,6 percent respectively.

Mashonaland Central accounted for 5,8 percent of the national cake in 2020 while Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South had 5,3 percent and 4,9 percent respectively.

In his remarks at the virtual workshop to disseminate the provincial GDP statistics, ZimStat director general Mr Taguma Mahonde said the presentation of the latest provincial GDP statistics was part of the agency’s mandate.

“Following Government of Zimbabwe’s policy thrust on devolution and decentralisation, ZimStat as part of its mandate, started compiling devolution statistics including provincial GDP.

“In response to the demand for devolution statistics by stakeholders, ZimStat released provincial GDP figures for the period 2012 to 2018.

“The agency used the hybrid approach, which was based on data from surveys and administrative sources to compile provincial GDP statistics,” he said.

In compiling the provincial GDP for 2019-2020, ZimStat utilised secondary data from Government agencies and surveys which include among others Income Consumption and Expenditure Survey, Quarterly employment, Agriculture and Livestock Survey.

Mr Mahonde said ZimStat will continue to play a pivotal role in supplying demand driven data to all sectors of the economy.

By so doing, he said the agency will be complementing the evidence-based policy making and implementation processes through production of statistics disaggregated by province.

“I am glad to advise that in addition to provincial GDP, ZimStat is also releasing provincial Consumer Price Indices, starting May 2021.

“The dissemination of provincial GDP by ZimStat is in adherence to the constitutional provisions on devolution.

“The Agency is fulfilling its devolution mandate from a statistics dimension by producing subnational statistics to enhance precision on decision and policy making,” said Mr Mahonde.

He expressed excitement over the progress made so far in the production of decentralised statistics due to unwavering support from all the stakeholders, especially Government, cooperating partners and data suppliers.

“Going forward, ZimStat will strive to produce statistics at micro levels like districts.”

Speaking at the same occasion, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe chief economist responsible for economic research and policy enhancement, Dr Nicholas Masiyandima said looking at the provincial GDP statistics for 2019 and 2020, the data clearly show the concentration of primary activities in almost all the provinces except Harare and Bulawayo.

“The second thing to note is, manufacturing activities tend to be concentrated in Harare and Bulawayo.

“Then what does it say or speak with regards to the devolution efforts of the Government.

“What stands therefore, is that there is need to look outward, out of the major cities of Harare and Bulawayo in terms of development and economic transformation especially into non-primary sectors,” he said.

Dr Masiyandima applauded ZimStat for timeous production of GDP data saying this is also in line with international standards of expectations.

“We also applaud ZimStat in that, in recent years we have seen increasing attention on this; and now we have got our GDP data being produced timeously and within international standards of expectations,” he said.

— @KazungaOliver

Article Source: The Chronicle

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