By RUMBIDZAYI ZINYUKE

Zimbabwe President Mnangagwa said that pricing by businesses using black-market exchange rates yet getting currency at the auctions run by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is seeing prices rise unnecessarily and a danger of speculation dominating the economy, the Herald reports.

Speaking during a meeting with the Presidential Advisory Council (PAC) and business leaders in the Private Sector Forum yesterday, the President said he was worried that people were being forced to panic-buy goods and foreign currency at high premiums.

The meeting was a platform for Government, the private sector and the PAC to look at the business environment in the country, and see what was needed to accelerate growth and help the private sector create the new wealth needed to fulfil the 2030 Vision.

“Of late, I have noted that the manufacturing of basic commodities such as cooking oil and bread has been stable owing to Government’s continued prioritisation of foreign currency allocation for the import of crude soya bean oil and wheat.

“This has included medical drugs and other essential products and services. However, the pricing of these commodities is getting beyond the reach of the generality of our communities, as they are being pegged against the parallel foreign currency exchange rate.

We cannot have our economy being determined and dominated by speculators,” he said.

So Government and business needed to intensify efforts to bring the country back to normalcy.

President Mnangagwa said Government through the 2022 National Budget would deliberately continue prioritising and supporting local manufacturers through supply side interventions.

In addition, the President said the National Budget had come up with interventions that sought to cushion Zimbabweans to ensure access to social protection.

Economic growth is required to create the wealth so Zimbabweans enter an upper middle income society by 2030 and the President said private sector-led economic growth was a key cog of Government’s strategies.

“As you are aware, our Vision (2030) will be attained through the implementation of three development frameworks, namely: the Transitional Stabilisation Plan 2018-2020; and two consecutive National Development Strategies covering 2021-2025 and 2026-2030.

This is a trajectory we must traverse together, with the full participation of us all. It is upon this background that I found it fitting that we meet as Government, the Presidential Advisory Council and representative of business as represented by members of the Private Sector Forum, to reaffirm our commitment to our national vision and shared course,” he added.

The President said despite the challenges Zimbabweans had faced, the nation had continued working together through the proactive and complementary attitude and interventions by business, which deserved commendation.

“My Government remains optimistic of a sustainable and stable future socio-economic outlook, as we build back better. It is critical, however, that we strengthen our resolve to work together through various forms of engagement and consultation to arrive at shared and inclusive decisions. This was always my desire from the onset. Regrettably, the Covid19 pandemic placed us in an environment where we failed to meet.

“Following the national vaccination programme, Government is now better placed to undertake stakeholder consultations at regular intervals. This will enable us to collectively address challenges our nation may face and also sharpen strategies for a more prosperous future.

“Sharing perspectives on platforms such as this one, will indeed help attend to those lingering factors militating against the achievement of our nation’s desired socio-economic goals,” said President Mnangagwa.

He said Government was aware of the operational challenges which needed to be addressed to move with the developmental agenda espoused in the NDS-1, and had endeavoured to address most of these through the recently delivered 2022 National Budget and the monetary policies.

Government was committed to improving the supply of affordable power and energy as well

as efficiencies at ports of entry while focusing on attracting and retaining investment.

“Efforts to plug leakages and dealing with the cancer of corruption are also being scaled up.

I have challenged my administration to come up with a robust communication strategy for the achievements that we have so far attained,” he said.

He wanted the private sector to take part in the preparations for the country’s showcase of investment opportunities at the World Economic Forum in January.

“Let me reiterate that in unity and common purpose, through hard honest work and the right mindset, the enabling infrastructure as well as the conducive business environment being created by my Government, along with a progressive and patriotic private sector, Vision 2030 will be achieved, even before the set timeframe.

Zimbabwe is a giant and our time has come. Brick by brick, stone upon stone we are indeed becoming a prosperous and empowered society,” President Mnangagwa said.

Speaking after yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the PAC and the private sector commended the Government on its several achievements that include economic growth, reduction of inflation, increased capacity utilisation and improved infrastructure development among others.

Issues raised by the PAC and the private sector included the need to deal with inflation caused by foreign exchange rate disparities and agree on a roadmap to salvage economic gains among other issues.

“The private sector also acknowledged the Global Compensation Agreement and noted that this would go a long way in guaranteeing the real value for land.

They recommended that going forward land should become a balance sheet item which people can borrow against, turning farming into a business in the truest sense,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.

 

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