The Sunday Mail
Dr Gift Mugano
Over the last two decades, Zimbabwe has suffered massive economic decline which has seen it being entrenched into structural rigidities with the following ugly fundamentals, among others:
Pervasive formal unemployment;
Weak production base;
Narrowing export base and increasing import bill of finished goods and basic agricultural products;
Collapse of the Zimbabwe dollar;
Unfavourable business environment;
Decay of the social fabric;
High levels of poverty and worrying stunted growth, especially in the rural areas.
The essence of this article is to highlight the basic minimum requirements which must be taken into consideration by Government if we are to address the challenges we are facing.
These minimum requirements inter alia should include the establishment of a lean and pragmatic cabinet, reforms on State owned enterprises, fast track business reforms and development of a national development plan.
Lean and pragmatic cabinet
The President must appoint a lean cabinet with ministers who have a track record of experience in the field linked to their portfolios. The same must apply to permanent secretaries.
Appointments on the basis of political consideration at the expense of merit should be the thing of the past. The world over, governments place their best experts in various sectors of the economy in strategic key positions in government. This is the approach the new Government should take.
Undoubtedly, the success of the Government in addressing the challenges faced by the country today depends on the calibre of men and women in Government. I am confident that President Mnangagwa will appoint the best team to take us to Canaan.
National development plan
In order to achieve the middle-income status, the Government must come up with a National Development Plan Vision 2030.
This plan must clearly articulate how we will get there in a logical and pragmatic way. The development of the plan must be inclusive and consultative.
lt must tape into the brains of Zimbabwean experts – think tanks, academia, civil society and the business community.
The plan must not be a party thing, it should be a national project.
Reforms around doing business and State-owned enterprises
The World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Index rates Zimbabwe number 126 out of 138 in terms of ease of doing business. The World Bank rates Zimbabwe number 161 out of 190.
Heritage Foundation Index of Economic Freedom rates Zimbabwe number 175 out of 178 and Transparency International Corruption Perception rates Zimbabwe number 154 out of 175.
These positions have consistently remained at the same level over the years.
Unfortunately, the positions in global rating inhibit capital from moving in or domestic capital mobilization to take place.
It is important for Zimbabwe to work hard to achieve the ranking of its peers, that is, Rwanda, Mauritius and South Africa, which are in the top 50.
The Zimbabwe is open for business mantra must get louder now that elections have come and gone.
As part of the National Development Plan, Government must expedite reforms on doing business and State-owned enterprises.
Dr Mugano is an Author and Expert in Trade and International Finance. He has successfully supervised four Doctorate candidates in the field of Trade and International finance, published over twenty – five articles and book chapters in peer reviewed journals. He is a Research Associate at Nelson Mandela University, Registrar at Zimbabwe Ezekiel Guti University and Director at Africa Economic Development Strategies (www.aeds-africa.com). Feedback: Cell: +263 772 541 209. Email: [email protected]