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2024: Year of plenty

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WHILE there are many things to look forward to for the people of Zimbabwe in 2024, most importantly, Government has put in place plans for another year of prosperity; it has already kick-started processes to make it a resounding success. 

Since assuming office in 2017, the Second Republic has embarked on massive economic reforms that have been anchored on construction and rehabilitation of infrastructure, increased activity in agriculture and mining, among other sectors. 

Economic growth, in 2023, saw the country posting an impressive 4,5 percent. 

While in 2024 the rate is expected to slow down to 3,5 percent due to anticipated depressed output from agriculture arising from the devastating El Nino weather pattern that has caused below-average rainfall, other sectors are expected to perform well. 

However, climate proofing practices in the agriculture sector will continue to be implemented in the new year to cushion farmers and more support will be extended to the mining sector and infrastructure development. 

The RBZ has assured the nation that the Central Bank will maintain the price stability witnessed in the last quarter of 2023. 

There was more good news for the country as small-scale miners contributed 60 percent of the 8 602kg of the gold produced in the third quarter of 2023. 

The politics will, however, continue with the usual antagonism from Western countries that remain agitated with their failure to access the country’s abundant natural resources. 

Zimbabwe will remain steadfast and resolute on the defence of its sovereignty and territorial integrity. 

The opposition will continue on its downward spiral, with the internal bickering spilling into the new year. 

We take a look at the sectors that will spur much needed economic growth: 

Mining 

Last year, Government announced that it had Special Economic Zone (SEZ) for mining projects. 

It will now move to remove tax rebates for investors in the sector to compel them to implement value-addition and beneficiation of minerals. 

The worry from the majority had been that they were not benefitting from their abundant natural resources. 

That will be a thing of the past in the next coming months. 

SEZ status was heavily skewed in favour of investors who were benefitting from innumerable incentives, such as tax exemptions, among others. 

However, during a debate on the 2024 National Budget, late last year, Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube told Senate that President Emmerson Mnangagwa had appointed a Cabinet Committee that will ensure the country benefits from its mineral resources. 

The Committee has also been tasked to come up with measures on mining regulations with focus on contracts, incentives for investors and revenues that will be accrued by the country. 

“As I speak, the President has set up a special Cabinet Committee to look into these issues around the mining sector, the incentives, revenues (and) contracts. The Committee will be reporting to the President in the next few months,” said Professor Ncube. 

“I am a member of that Committee. Once that Committee has met and gone through the issues, I can assure you, there will be no more tax havens in mining, it will be a thing of the past. 

“They have been persuading us to stay but then we have said to them look, you need to beneficiate, if you show us your beneficiation plans, what you produce in the end, we are happy to extend special economic status to only that portion of your business which is doing beneficiation.” 

Energy 

Besides the proposed construction of solar power plants that will generate 1000MW by Independent Power Producers (IPPS), already there are plans in motion to generate more energy as capacity utilisation continues to increase. 

On December 20, power utility ZESA signed a Tariff Agreement with Dinson Holdings, a Chinese company that is an iron and steel plant at Manhize near Mvuma. 

The agreement will see ZESA supplying subsidised electricity in return for the construction of three renewable energy plants by Dinson. 

The three plants will contribute 270MW to the national grid. 

Another firm, Jinan-Almid (Pvt), has started processes for generation of 720MW of electricity. 

The ferrochrome producer will begin the first phase of the mega project in April. 

Government funds mega projects 

As part of its thrust to boost the economy, Government has set aside US$1, 6 billion for completion of at least seven high impact projects this year. 

The projects will span energy, information and communication technology, transport, water and sanitation, agriculture, health, education as well as housing as part of Government’s thrust to modernise and industrialise the country. 

The initiatives include Lake Gwayi-Shangani, Harare-Beitbridge Highway, Hwange Thermal Power Station upgrade and the highly successful Presidential Borehole Drilling Programme. 

Part of the projects include construction of Lupane Provincial Hospital and upgrading of Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo and Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport as well as upgrading and rehabilitation of Harare-Chirundu and Beitbridge-Victoria Falls roads. 

There will also be construction and rehabilitation of 146 hospitals and clinics as well as development of 27 000 hectares for irrigation. 

In addition, engagements on Debt Restructuring will continue as well as intense lobbying for the complete removal of Western-imposed illegal sanctions that are hampering growth. 

Let those with ears listen. 

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