The Sunday Mail
Government has made significant progress in laying solid foundations needed to support economic growth and integrate the country into the global family of nations, a report from the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) shows.
The report, titled “100-Day Programme Key Achievements – January 2018-February 2019”, was tabled before Cabinet last week.
It details breakthroughs that have been made in restoring relations with multilateral partners, supporting small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) and rehabilitation of the country’s irrigation infrastructure.
A lot of ground has also been covered in the health and education sectors.
In line with Government’s promise to rehabilitate the health sector, much headway has been made, with the availability of essential medicines in most public hospitals improving from 52 percent to 65 percent.
Patient waiting time at public health institutions has also been reduced from an average six hours to two hours at casualty and out-patient services.
“This will contribute to the attainment of universal health as enshrined under the Sustainable Development Goals,” reads part of the report.
Perhaps the most notable progress that has been made so far has been to remove the country’s perceived pariah status through successfully canvassing support for the debt clearance strategy.
Zimbabwe recently struck a deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a Staff-Monitored Programme (SMP), which will run until March next year.
Essentially, the ongoing processes are expected to culminate in a deal to repay the foreign debt — presently at more than US$7,5 billion — and open up new sources of finance needed to support Vision 2030.
“To bring an end to the isolation that Zimbabwe endured in the past year, Government engaged on a re-engagement drive to sanitise the internationally battered image and reputation of the country, guided by the Transitional Stabilisation Programme and the mantra “Zimbabwe is Open for Business”.
“The engagements resulted in the endorsement of Zimbabwe’s strategy for debt clearance, which is currently being implemented; increased tourism activities and investment delegations, inquiries and commitments; opening up of lines of credit and loan facilities; increased social and humanitarian support, especially for Cyclone Idai and the health sector,” added the report.
Formerly frosty relations between the country and the West are beginning to thaw.
Last week, Zimbabwe and the European Union began formal discussions for the first time in two decades.
In line with campaign promises made by the governing party, Zanu-PF, Government has also managed to establish links between 700 small-to medium-scale enterprises (SMEs), particularly in the agro-processing industry, and large corporates in all the country’s 10 provinces.
Most notably, small-scale business were engaged as suppliers of produce such as pea bean, Irish potato and soya beans to corporates such as Cairns Foods, Hanawa Super foods, Simbisa Holdings and Nhimbe Fresh Exports.
Furthermore, farmers in the horticulture sector were linked to retailers and wholesalers such as OK Zimbabwe, Pick n Pay, Choppies and N Richards.
According to the report, 2 633 hectares of land under smallholder irrigation schemes, large estates and individual farms were also put under functional irrigation.
Conscious of the pain that is attendant to the ongoing austerity programme, Government has continued to rollout elaborate safety nets to insulate vulnerable members of society.
“A home-grown school feeding programme was introduced in 15 percent of primary schools as a strategic initiative to reduce malnutrition, improve school attendance as well as the concentration span of learners, especially from disadvantaged backgrounds.
“At least 135 rural institutions throughout the country were electrified through the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), raising the country’s electricity access rate to about 46 percent.
“The institutions include service centres, hospitals, clinics and schools,” notes the report.
Minister of State for Presidential Affairs in charge of Implementation and Monitoring Dr Jorum Gumbo — who oversees the projects — told The Sunday Mail most projects implemented through the recent 100-day cycle, which ended on Friday, were always ahead of schedule.
“Most of our projects for this cycle were well ahead of schedule. A few were, however, affected by the sudden changes in prices of goods and services; this was after funds had already been made available. This resulted in stalling of some projects because of lack of funding.
“Some were also affected by shortages of foreign currency, as you are aware foreign currency is hard to come by these days.
“But over and above, we remain hopeful that most of the projects will be successfully completed before we embark on the next round,” he said.
The 100-day rapid results model is being used to drive the Transitional Stabilisation Programme and lay a roadmap for the attainment of Vision 2030.
Through the 100-day programme, all ministers are required to submit to the OPC a minimum of five projects they intend to implement over a 100-day period.
The projects are then monitored by President Mnangagwa via the Electronic Executive Dashboard.