Zim @ 41!…so much to celebrate

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A BUMPER harvest, a stable currency, a stable pricing regime, peace and tranquillity and massive infrastructure development is what Zimbabweans will be celebrating when the country turns 41on Sunday. 

There is a fillip to all this.

The country has been using local resources to boost the economy and the journey so far has been nothing but pleasant.

And the future is looking increasingly brighter; something that those who sacrificed their lives for the country’s freedom will surely be smiling about in their graves — marked and unmarked.

This is the Zimbabwe they wanted, the Zimbabwe that its people want and the Zimbabwe that is a nation of promise — a country of fulfilment of the people’s aspirations.

And the most significant aspect about this year’s independence celebrations is that, unlike in previous years where politics reigned supreme, this time around, it will be the economy and the many successes that are emerging which will be at the centre of attraction.

Since assuming office in November 2017, President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration has focused on reviving what had almost become a comatose economy through an array of interventions whose results are beginning to manifest.

Not even the COVID-19 pandemic could stall progress in the various sectors of the economy.

It has been progress in all sectors of the economy.

That progress is there for all to see.

For instance, and for the first time in more than a decade, we will achieve a bumper harvest, with maize expected to hit     2,8 million metric tonnes against a demand of about 1,6 million metric tonnes per annum.

Zimbabwe has been spending over US$800 million dollars annually on maize and wheat imports, but President Mnangagwa’s Agricultural Recovery Plan and the Agricultural and Food Systems Transformation Strategy whose objectives are designed to restore the country’s food security and create US$8,2 billion agriculture value economy by the year 2023 there are huge prospects that the country will reach that target before 2023.

In tobacco, the story has been the same.

The tobacco selling season commenced last week with the highest opening price at US$4,30 per kg, up from US$4 in 2020.

Government expects about 200 million kg of tobacco to be sold this season, compared to 180 million kg (valued at US$452 million) sold last year.

The country expects to generate US$800 million.

This is due to the interventions by Government that saw crop hectarage increasing by 6,84 percent — from 117 000 ha in 2019/2020 season to 125 000 ha this year.

Government also expects to reach the 300 million-kg mark by 2025.

The mining sector is expected to achieve its US$12 billion by 2023 with the re-opening of Shamva gold mine (Shamva) and Eureka Mine (Guruve), among others, signalling Government’s intention to revive all sectors of the economy.

The US$4,2 billion Great Dyke Investments Platinum project is now under construction while the US$4 billion Karo Resources project will go into to production before 2023.

Government has since stopped issuing Special Grants in reserved areas until exploration and evaluation, as well comprehensive value addition plans, are presented to Government.

Next month, President Mnangagwa will preside over the opening of an iron ore and a carbon steel plant in Manhize, Mvuma.

The US$1 billion deal with China’s Tsingshan Holding Group will see the construction of a two-million tonne per annum steel plant whose exploration has since been completed.

It is on the Land Reform and Resettlement Programme that the country still has many issues to contend with, especially with Western countries that have tried to destroy Harare’s economy through their illegal economic sanctions.

In an Independence Day interview that will be aired on ZBC Newsonline tomorrow evening, President Mnangagwa has a message for those who want to reverse the Land Reform and Resettlement Programme.

“Those who want to engage with us must admit that the land of Zimbabwe belongs to the people of Zimbabwe. There is no negotiation on that,” says President Mnangagwa.

The negative effect of those sanctions has been felt across all economic sectors over the past few years despite shameless lies by Western governments that the embargo is ‘targeted’ at a few individuals in Government.

But as recent as last week, the country was still blocked from receiving funding and grants for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Harare has had to go it alone in that regard.

Said President Mnangagwa: “Many countries have received grants to fight COVID-19. 

Some around us have received billions whilst others, not less than US$300 million. 

But because of sanctions imposed upon us, we realised that we were on our own and we had to take measures.”

Sanctions have done little to quell the spirit of unity, peace and development that brought about the country’s independence.

This week, Government unveiled a masterplan aimed at developing previously marginalised communities as the country’s leadership seeks to bring everyone on board in its development agenda.

Areas that will be transformed under the masterplan include the much maligned Chiredzi in Masvingo, Kanyemba in Mashonaland Central, Gwai-Shangani and Binga in Matabeleland North, Beitbridge in Matabeleland South as well as Pfungwe and Kotwa in Mashonaland East, among others.

“His Excellency, the President dispatched his deputy Vice-President (Constantino) Chiwenga to Chiredzi to wrap up consultations with traditional leaders, community leaders, local leaders and MPs and other Government officials in respect of the masterplan which is meant for Chiredzi. This plan speaks to a broader national plan which Government has drawn up to bring to speed all areas in the country which were colonial backwaters but which actually have unique endowments,” said Deputy Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet George Charamba.

“The view of the State is not looking at this as the continuation of the colonial land use plan. The hallmark of the colonial land use plan was displacement; this time around, and this is the message of the President; we are replacing displacement with development, disempowerment with empowerment of the locals. 

Clearly we are no longer talking about little, divisive visions by small men and women seeking relevance in opposition. We are talking about transforming colonially ordained backwaters into major national growth points for agro-industrial transformation, much of it export-focused and led.” 

Several other projects, including the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport expansion, new Parliament and the Chirundu-Beitbridge Highway dualisation are recording massive progress which will in future transform the economy.

As we celebrate Independence Day, let us also celebrate the growth of our economy.

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