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Time now to deliver on our electoral promises

Madam President of the Senate,

Mr Speaker, Sir,

Honourable Members of Parliament,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Comrades and Friends.

I welcome you all to this official opening of the First Session of the Ninth Parliament of Zimbabwe. This session is significant in that it is my inaugural address to this august House as President of our great country and occurring at the dawn of the Second Republic.

As per my promise, the recently held harmonised general elections, whose outcome constituted this new Parliament, were peaceful, free, fair and democratic. Allow me, Honourable Members of Parliament, to take this opportunity to congratulate you all for having secured the mandate to represent our people for the next five years. Congratulations! Makorokoto! Amhlophe!

Parliament is a sacred institution. Collectively, we carry our people’s hopes, dreams and aspirations. A great deal of trust has been placed in each and every one of us. It is therefore incumbent upon us to work tirelessly as servant leaders, in love, unity and harmony; to deliver a more prosperous Zimbabwe for all our people.

I wish to also pay tribute to all the people of Zimbabwe, from across the political divide, for heeding my call for peaceful political contestations; and for contributing to the peaceful environment we continue to enjoy. We can stand proud as a nation that our democracy has matured. Let us continue on the onerous journey we have begun to entrench constitutionalism, and democratic practices and values.

The isolated, regrettable and unacceptable incident of violence which occurred on 1st August 2018 should not deter us from the bold course of peace we have begun. I have announced a seven-member Commission of Inquiry, consisting of eminent persons, whom I will be swearing-in tomorrow, Wednesday 19 September 2018. I am confident that their ultimate report and recommendations will help put closure and finality to the matter.

Madam President,

Mr Speaker, Sir,

My administration has committed to prioritise economic development as a strategic response to the pressing need to leapfrog our economic development in line with our national aspirations as well as the regional, continental and international trajectory. As such, this particular period in our country’s history and the advent of the Second Republic herald brighter prospects and resolutely focuses towards rapid modernisation and industrialisation of our country’s economy.

United by our vision to be a middle income economy with a per capita income of us$3 500, increased investment, decent jobs, broad-based empowerment, free from poverty and corruption by 2030; we must all individually and collectively put shoulders to the wheel and play our part in the rebuilding of our great country.

My Government, cognisant that the world is not one basket and encouraged by the goodwill and support we have received to date, will continue to accelerate the international engagement and re-engagement policy, underpinned by mutual respect, peaceful development, shared principles and common values.

Comprehensive plans will be put in place to expedite the desired outcome towards the external debt arrears clearance strategy, under the LIMA Plan.

In a bid to ensure that the nation realises value from its external relations, my Government is with immediate effect revisiting all MoUs signed with other governments which are idle, gathering dust and unimplemented by various ministries.

In addition, Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements will be reviewed to promote investments from across the world.

Though we have made some progress over the last 10 months, some challenges still, however continue to face our country’s economy. I urge us all, the Executive, Legislature and the public and private sectors alike to be partners. Partners in bringing about economic order and growth; job creation; an end to corruption; improving our social services; and in the provision of requisite infrastructure, water and sanitation, education, healthcare and good environmental practices. This is a goal we must all share.

My Government will accelerate ongoing effort towards stabilising the macro- economic environment, creation of fiscal space; currency reforms and enhancing foreign currency availability; improving liquidity; increasing the country’s investment attractiveness; reducing the budget deficit and ensuring gradual growth of all sectors of our economy.

My Government shall, however, continue with the use of the multi-currency system up until the current negative economic fundamentals have been addressed to give credence to the introduction of the local currency. The economic fundamentals that need to be met are a sustainable fiscal position, foreign currency reserves of between three to six months of import cover and sustainable consumer and business confidence. These economic fundamentals are yet to be met to justify the introduction of our own currency.

In order to bring sanity in the foreign currency market, my Government through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, has negotiated a number of foreign exchange facilities amounting to us$500 million that are intended to meet the growing demand for foreign currency by business and the public in general. Some of these facilities shall be disbursed this week to meet the expanding demand for foreign currency that continues to be sustained by fiscal imbalances which my Government has made a great commitment to redress.

Furthermore, my Government will, with renewed urgency, continue to drive a high performance culture within all public entities. All public servants are henceforth required to change their work ethics to ensure the efficient and prudent use of public resources; responsiveness, accountability as well as timely, impartial and equitable delivery of goods and services to our people.

The lethargic and non-implementation of Government policies, projects and programmes will not be acceptable. Our bureaucrats must be committed to deliver. We will vehemently fight bureaucratic red tape and bottlenecks.

Equally, State-owned enterprises have an obligation to operate profitably and cannot continue to be a burden to the fiscus. We will therefore be implementing the Cabinet decision to streamline some of our public entities to bring about greater focus, coherence, efficiency, effectiveness, ease and cost of doing business and better service delivery to our people.

To this end, the creation of a more competitive and business friendly environment must be given greater impetus by all relevant institutions. We will not pay lip service to this matter. Reforms must be real. Meanwhile, I challenge the private sector to be honest, ethical and honourable in their business dealings.

Madame President,

Mr Speaker, Sir,

Agriculture remains a key sector in the resuscitation and growth of our economy. The restructured Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement will have an accelerated, more coordinated and composite approach to the modernisation and mechanisation of our agriculture sector. As we quest to achieve maximum land utilisation for increased productivity; there is need for strategic and concise planning, development and use of our water bodies throughout the country. We will be pursuing further investments and cooperation in this respect.

We note the ongoing increased production of maize, wheat and cotton. In line with our industrialisation agenda, the revival and development of vibrant agro-based industries along the various agro-value chains, such as cereals, cotton, vegetables, horticulture, fruits, meat and dairy products, among others, will be encouraged.

Government remains aware of the challenges that face our manufacturing sector. We are committed to ease this pressure through increased foreign currency disbursements. Meanwhile, we must continue to scale up the value addition and beneficiation drive to ensure Zimbabwe enters the regional, continental and global value chains.

The mining sector remains yet another key component of our economic recovery programme. The production performance of gold, platinum and chrome sub-sectors are encouraging. My administration will facilitate further revival of the sector and broaden the range of minerals exploited. Government will continue to facilitate the acquisition and use of appropriate modern, efficient and adaptable technologies by our small-scale miners to increase efficiency and output, especially in gold production.

We must take full advantage of our country’s lithium and coal bed methane reserves to seek cooperation and investment and become a centre for research, development and the manufacturing of green energy solutions.

The development and modernisation of our roads, railways, airports, energy and ICT infrastructure will be accelerated. This must, however, be in sync with our domestic realities as well as the ongoing quest by SADC and Africa as a whole, for enhanced connectivity and integrated infrastructure.

The tourism sector continues to make notable improvements. There is need, however, to improve tourism infrastructure, product range, quality and pricing of our products to make them more competitive. Stakeholders in this sector are encouraged to leverage on partnerships with other successful tourist destinations in the region, to jointly market products available in our country.

Cities such as Bulawayo are challenged to consider marketing the opportunities around “meeting and event tourism”, taking into account the presence of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair facilities.

SMEs, women and youth have an important role to play in the modernisation, growth and subsequent industrialisation of our national economy. These groups are equally essential in increased job creation, innovation, environmental sustainability and more inclusive growth.

My Government will hasten the improvement on the institutional regulatory framework for this sector, through deliberate and sensitive policies which tap into the entrepreneurial zeal and business dynamism of these important groupings. We will be consolidating their access to finance through the Zimbabwe Women’s Micro-Finance Bank and Empower Bank, among other instruments.

The need for modern education and health infrastructure cannot be over- emphasised. We will seek incremental investments in our social services sector to achieve our desired goals. As our economy grows, we shall ensure that the requisite social safety nets are in place for the more vulnerable members of our society.

The constitutionally enshrined provisions of devolution of Government powers and responsibilities will be implemented. I urge us all, however, to use this opportunity to drive economic development and inclusive growth within our respective localities. Provinces must strive to have diverse economic activities and seek to have distinct provincial GDPs.

Sustainable development cannot be achieved without a good, clean society. As Government we will continue to entrench transparency, accountability and good governance in all public entities and institutions.

As I stated in my inauguration speech; No person or entity will be allowed to steal, loot or pocket that which belongs to the people of Zimbabwe. No one is above the law. I urge us all, as public officials, to lead by example and be beyond reproach.

Madame President,

Mr Speaker, Sir,

In view of the above; the Legislative Agenda of this Ninth Parliament must therefore seek to give greater impetus to our ambitious and yet achievable economic agenda. A cross-section of Bills will be tabled, debated and enacted. These include the following:

The Companies and Other Entities Bill, which will overhaul the Companies Act.

The Regional Town and Country Planning Amendment Bill, which seeks to reduce the time and procedures for processing construction permits.

The Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency Bill, which seeks to consolidate various pieces of legislation on investment which are presently spread under various Acts. The Bill will also provide for the establishment of a one-stop investment centre, the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency.

The Citizenship of Zimbabwe Act and the Immigration Act shall be amended.

The Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill will be re-tabled to address some inadequacies therein and will further provide for online registration of mining rights and title.

The Gold Trade Bill and the Precious Stones Trade Bill, which seeks to curb leakages of precious minerals, will also be tabled.

Madame President,

Mr Speaker, Sir,

The Bill to establish the Institute of Education Research, Innovation and Development will be tabled to align with the programme on value addition and import substitution strategies.

A Consumer Protection Bill shall be introduced to protect our consumers from unfair trade practices and abuse by suppliers of sub-standard goods.

Source :

The Herald

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