Letters to Editor

LEAD position on what needs to be done to revive the economy

There are some factors which cause or inhibit economic reforms. As we work towards reforming the Zimbabwean environment, there is need for those responsible for the reform process to take these factors into account.

Once this is done it will be easy for us to engender and deliver meaningful and sustainable economic reforms in Zimbabwe.

These sets are:

•Agents: Agents are the various individuals and organisations which pursue particular interests. They include the political elite, civil servants, political parties, the private sector, civil society groups and the media. The different sets of interests of each of these groups, significantly impact on the scope and potential success of reform processes.

•Institutions: These include the rules that govern the behaviour of agents, such as public and political processes. These include more informal ‘rules of the road’ as well as formal rules. Institutions, it is argued, are more susceptible to change in the medium term.

•Structural features: These are factors relating to the way in which a state is structured. These include the history of state formation, economic and social structures, urbanisation and regional influences. These factors are deeply embedded and are slow to change.

In light of these factors we have proposed some of the areas of focus in the reform process which we as LEAD believe should be attention to the much needed economic turnaround may result.

•There are several institutions, organizations and businesses that are still functioning through shrewd policies, competent management, good leadership and partnerships. For Zimbabwe’s economy to survive and thrive the government will have to adopt the ‘best practice’ template in a national consultative, multiple-stakeholder approach.

This involved looking at the country as a unitary system requiring coherent, coordinated and all inclusive strategies. This is not a time for segmented planning but a time when those in public and private sector planning should have a homing approaching in their planning and business planning and operation.

•Zimbabwe’s re-entry into the global system brings with it the challenge and opportunity of engaging potential investors in terms not of ideological divisions but of competitive advantage. If it is to attract investment it must demonstrate that it is a worthwhile business destination and partner in a global economy crowded with competitor nations.

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This includes clarifying indigenization provisions for business, supporting land reform, controlling corruption, controlling money laundering, revitalising the banking sector, fiscal reforms and the removal of sanctions.

•For the country to be able to navigate past the current economic position the starting point should the political will especially by the Zanu pf regime both as a political party and as government. This calls on Zanu pf to call its members to order so that they as the ruling party may show, in a way of body gesture and political deportment that want this country to move forward.

It also calls upon those in the military and the defence industry to put national interests ahead of personal gains. It also calls upon those in industry, especially the cartels to stop sabotaging the economy for personal gain. It also calls upon those in opposition politics to put national interests ahead of party interest. It also calls on those in the civic society world not to justify their relevance by letting this country down.

•An economic roundtable needs to be established to bring together political, business and other stakeholders in a forum to advice on and assist in lifting the country out of its economic crisis. This is beyond a contested or arm slinging type of national dialogue. Rather, it should be a national dialogue motivated by patriotism.

It should not be a win lose contest but a win-win engagement. Politics should give way to nation building. If there is to be a GNU, let it be premised on such kind of thinking.

•The government should outline its economic visions in consultation with the business sectors highlighting key sectors for rejuvenation. This should be based on informed professional research aimed at highlighting priority recovery areas. Once done government budgeting and expenditure should be targeted at theses priority areas.

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• There should be a resuscitation of the road, rail and air transport networks to promote trade. Where possible government should privatise the constructions of the infrastructure and the provision of some of the services.

•Government should revisit its land reform model so as to rejuvenate agriculture and promote the opening up of the agrobased industries. This should include the commercialisation of the Agriculture sector by creating collective farms owned by competent individuals, groups of individuals or companies. All those that got land but are still in wage employment should be made to choose between employment and farming.

Government should capacitate these farmers through programmes such as contract farming partnerships. Investment in water infrastructure should be intensified to promote irrigation schemes. Irrigation schemes sponsored for communities through the Brazilian loan scheme should either be taken over by government or be given competent individuals, groups of individuals or companies to run.

•The Zunde Ramambo traditions should be reintroduced with grain silos built in each chieftainship jurisdiction to reduce reliance on western food aid. The current system has weakened the position of the traditional leaders in the community. Traditionally the home of the traditional leader was the nerve center of the society. Even their homestead and food security status was envied in the community.

Today the traditional leaders are made subservient to government officials and civic society personnel. Even the distribution of relief aid which was the traditional function of the traditional leader has been usurped by professionals reducing the traditional leader to a mere figurehead.

This is why the communities are facing a number of social and food security challenges. The traditional leader should be capacitated through returning their traditional functions so that they become productive and become the food security centers of the community.

Sydney Muyambi
LEAD Secretary General

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