Mnangagwa sets tone for economic turnaround

ONE of the hallmarks of the remarkable turnaround of the Chinese economy since that country launched sweeping economic reforms in 1978 has been the strict discipline enforced by that Government and zero tolerance to corruption. There is absolutely no room for lethargy in the Chinese bureaucracy and corruption is frowned upon to the extent that many top ex-officials in Government are serving lengthy prison terms for graft while some have been executed.

Slothfullness is not tolerated and the efficiency of the Chinese system of governance is marvelled at by the entire world. China opened its economy to the rest of the world but has maintained its communist ideology – successfully merging Western capitalism with its own brand of communism.

It is by no coincidence that it is the world’s second biggest economy and Zimbabwe – China’s all weather friend – can learn a lot from the Chinese economic model. Officially opening the just ended 59th edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo on Friday, President Mnangagwa declared war on economic saboteurs, lethargic public officers and arms of State, warning individuals and entities that continue to impede Government efforts to grow the economy that they will be dealt with ruthlessly.

He said resistance would not be tolerated and directed all public sector officers in various Government ministries, departments, agencies and State enterprises to facilitate domestic and international investment. The President said his administration acknowledged that actions speak louder than words and demanded all public officers and various arms of the Government to facilitate investment and the ease of doing business.

“My Government will not tolerate any form of public sector lethargy, undue delays, bottlenecks, bribery and corruption. Those that will be impediments in the economic growth agenda will fall by the wayside. Residual resistance of any kind is unacceptable. The mentality of ‘them and us’ must end,” he said.

Indeed these are strong words from the President which every Government employee must take heed of. Under the previous regime, corruption, lethargy, bottlenecks and downright incompetence had become acceptable and this is one of the main reasons for the economic malaise that had dogged the country.

The new dispensation needs to deal ruthlessly with corrupt elements and establish an efficient bureaucracy that is goal-oriented.

The Zimbabwe is open for business mantra can only succeed if investors are not needlessly tossed from pillar to post, find restrictive laws, corrupt and lethargic public officers. In that vein we commend the President for his forthright honesty in acknowledging the immense challenges that may stand in the way of attracting foreign direct investment.

We also call on the private sector to embrace the ongoing reforms and play their part in assisting the Government to grow the economy. There should be constant dialogue between the private sector and Government to foster trust. In his address at the ZITF, President Mnangagwa extended an invitation to the private sector, saying sustainable economic growth would be achieved collectively. He pledged Government support to continuously improve the country’s business operating environment.

“I pledge that my administration will consistently engage with all stakeholders to further improve the business operating environment,” the President said.

President Mnangagwa commended business and industry for regular sector recommendations, saying Government had taken note and will strive to create conditions that make businesses “feel safe and can grow and thrive.”

The President said to attain Government’s vision of making Zimbabwe a middle income country by 2030 with decent jobs, broad-based empowerment, increased investment and free from poverty and corruption there was a need for collaboration.

“Government, on its part is implementing a plethora of reform measures to increase the viability and competitiveness of business across all sectors,” said President Mnangagwa.

He said his Government was taking bold steps to reform State-owned enterprises and parastatals to ensure they contributed to inclusive growth of the economy and lower costs of doing business.

We welcome the bold steps being taken by the Government to enhance the ease of doing business and are certain that they will yield positive results if they are implemented in their entirety. There is a positive vibe around Zimbabwe since the new dispensation took power in November last year and the country needs to leverage on this sentiment to attract munch needed FDI. The magnitude of this year’s ZITF showed that the country is on the right path towards economic turnaround and we urge foreign investors to take advantage of the relaxation of trade laws to tap into the Zimbabwean market.

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