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Another policy blueprint for Zim

Godfrey Marawanyika

THE government has come up with another new economic blueprint dubbed “Towards Sustained Economic Growth – Macro-Economic Framework 2004-2006” to be unveiled in two weeks’ time.

Acting Minister of Finance Herbert Murerwa is set to present the new two-year policy at a National Economic Consultative Forum Meeting scheduled for Masvingo from November 10 to 12.

Murerwa is also set to present the national budget on November 25.

Under the new economic blueprint, one of government’s main priorities will be to reduce inflation to two digit levels by next year.

Currently the country’s inflation is pegged at 251,5%, down from a peak of 620% in January.

Murerwa confirmed that the new economic programme would be discussed in Masvingo.

“The new plan will be discussed at the NECF meeting which will include government, business and labour in Masvingo,” he said.

“I cannot say anything on the budget right now since consultations are going on.”

Ministry of Finance officials were this week finalising with parliament on the date of the budget presentation.

The officials said they had recommended that the national budget be presented on the last Thursday of November.

This is not the first time that government has drafted an economic policy document that has not been followed through. In 1998 it launched the Zimbabwe Programme for Economic and Social Transformation (Zimprest) as a replacement for the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme (Esap).

Government argued that Esap was not home-grown and therefore failed to address the country’s problems.

In 2000 it came up with the Millennium Recovery Programme (Merp), which was drafted by the Planning Commission. It never saw the light of day and was soon replaced by the National Economic Revival Programme last year.

Agriculture is expected to underpin the economic turnaround under the new programme.

In the past four years, the country’s agricultural production has been severely hurt by the badly handled land reform.

The land reform programme has also been delayed by government’s failure to address the issue of tenure up until this year.

The programme will also focus on infrastructural development in all sectors of the economy such as water resources, transport, construction, telecommunications and energy.

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