EDITORIAL COMMENT: Taking stock of the 10-point plan — Two years on

EDITORIAL COMMENT: Taking stock of the 10-point plan — Two years on
President Robert Mugabe

President Robert Mugabe

GOVERNMENT’S surprisingly passable record in implementing a 10-point plan enunciated by President Robert Mugabe in August 2015 underlines the importance of clear, concise and modest economic plans.
That the 10-point plan does not have the same weight in economic discourse as the grandiose Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-economic Transformation (ZimAsset) might be down to its lack of a catchy acronym.
An argument can, however, be made that it is no less efficacious.
Where ZimAsset lays out grand plans requiring billions of dollars, the 10-point plan is basically a government to-do list with far-reaching consequences.
Where the former is hopelessly ambitious and open to the vagaries of exogenous factors, the latter is a list of necessary steps that do not need money.
Tomorrow marks the second anniversary since Mugabe laid out the 10-point plan and, for an administration whose record on economic management is calamitous, government’s score-card looks good. In parts.
The plan set out to revitalise agriculture and the agro-processing value chain, advance beneficiation, focus on water, energy, transport and ICT infrastructure development, unlock the potential of SMEs and encourage private sector investment.
It also seeks to restore and build confidence and stability in the financial services sector, promote joint ventures and public-private-partnerships to revive State-owned enterprises.
The modernisation of labour laws, implementation of Special Economic Zones and pursuit of an anti-corruption thrust are the other key points of the plan.
Perhaps aided by propitious weather, government’s cropping subsidies for the staple maize in the 2016/17 season saw the country recording a good harvest.
Targeted funding has also seen the revival of the cotton industry, while tobacco consolidated a rebound that started upon dollarisation.
Infrastructure projects such as Tokwe-Mukosi and the Kariba South Power plant upgrade have either been completed or are nearing completion.
The long-delayed work on the Harare-Beitbridge highway project has been launched, all towards the infrastructure segment of the plan.
Similarly, the Special Economic Zones Authority board was installed late June, paving way for the realisation of one of the key pillars of the 10-point plan.
The stability of the financial sector has been maintained, thanks largely to the central bank’s intervention on bad loans through its Zimbabwe Asset Management Company.
However, confidence in the sector has been severely undermined by a deepening foreign currency and cash crisis.
The introduction of bond notes late last year has not helped the situation.
Other significant initiatives in line with the plan include the enactment of new laws to govern public procurement and the management of public entities.
The scrapbook is, of course, marred by government’s inability to improve the investment climate and lack of desire to act on corruption.
More than a year after he “clarified” the indigenisation policy, Mugabe’s government is yet to follow up with a legal instrument giving effect to the proposed new approach.
On the graft front, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission remains hamstrung by political interference in its operations.

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