‘Projected 5,5 percent GDP growth for 2022 achievable’

The Chronicle

Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
THE projected 5,5 percent Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth for year 2022 is achievable given the stable macro-economic environment and the anticipated good agricultural season, economists have said.

Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube has said going forward into 2022, Covid-19 would not deter the country from continuing on a positive GDP growth trajectory.

Already, Zimbabwe is expected to close this year with 7,8 percent economic growth mainly driven by the resurgence in the agriculture and mining sectors.

As part of its economic recovery strategy, the Government is driving a mass vaccination programme targeting herd immunity of 10 million people out of a total population of around 15 million.

In separate interviews, economic commentators said Government’s growth projections for next year were based on credible assumptions. The IMF and the World Bank have forecasted that Zimbabwe would attain a 4,9 percent GDP growth.

Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) past president, Mr Trust Chikohora, said the 5,5 percent projection was within reach.

“The projection over five percent growth next year is feasible given that next year we are expecting a good harvest because the rains have come and it is expected that we will have normal to above normal rainfall,” he said.

Mr Chikohora, who also chairs the Political Actors Dialogue (Polad) economic committee, said the steady commodity prices should anchor mining sector growth, in particular.

“This is expected to be the case even as we go into next year. There is growth even in terms of the production levels in mining and new operations are also being worked on and some are beginning to bear fruit,” he said.

“There is also a lot of work being done in the gold sector to stimulate productivity especially among the artisanal miners and that can also help the projected economic growth to be achieved.”

Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe chief executive officer, Mr Isaac Kwesu, said the mining industry performance was relatively better this year.

“I think 2021, generally the outturn was relatively better than the previous year because of the good prices. So, we expect the industry to take advantage of the same prices across most minerals that we were experiencing for the greater part of the year,” he said.

“Going into 2022, we expect the growth rate so far attained to continue. The volumes, however, despite having increased, are still below potential.

“This is the area that we need to work on for 2022 and it calls upon all stakeholders, producers and Government to put heads together to ensure that any gridlock that affect production is addressed.

“It’s high time that we take advantage of these prices that are still attractive.”

“The projected macro-economic growth of 5,5 percent growth is within reason especially when we look at where we are coming from,” economist and Bulawayo businessman, Mr Morris Mpala, said.

“We are also looking at the projections by the World Bank as well as IMF. So, the minister’s projection is a reasonable projection on the backdrop that when we look at agriculture, we expect that sector to perform.”

Mr Mpala said 2021 recorded positive strides in the agriculture, infrastructure and mining sectors, which are major sectors expected to carry the nation through.

“We expect the mining industry to be able to come to the party. I think mining can contribute quite a lot. Now, with a lot of infrastructural development . . . when we look at the power situation, supply is not as bad as what has happened in the past,” he said.

The manufacturing sector is also set to maintain positive growth with capacity utilisation seen at 61 percent by end of this month. The improved access to foreign currency at the auction platform as well as enhanced industry support measures have been credited for rebooting company operations.

The tourism sector is also promising riding on the renewed focus on domestic travel after Covid-19 frustrated international visits.

The economists stressed the importance for monetary authorities to keep the lid on inflationary pressures and ensure stability of the local dollar.

They also urged the Government to continue fine-tuning the ease of doing business to entice more investments into different sectors of the economy.

The analysts, however, noted the threat posed by Covid-19 and urged Zimbabweans to embrace the vaccination drive and abide by set mitigation protocols to allow business continuity. – @KazungaOliver.

Article Source: The Chronicle

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