The National Economic Consultative Forum (NECF) has failed to achieve the bulk of the objectives it set for itself last year. More than 98% of the objectives set last year amid much publicity
have failed to materialise due to lack of commitment among the stakeholders.
The forum is also struggling to retain the confidence of key business stakeholders who say it has been overtaken by the monetary policy statement announced on December 18 by Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono.
Last year participants at the forum bemoaned the lack of action and the slow progress on the initiatives agreed upon.
The Zimbabwe Independent heard this week that the government was now reluctant to participate in the NECF which it considers a “time wasting exercise that yields nothing”.
The forum had set out to implement about 148 objectives, all of which were supposed to have been accomplished before the end of last year. Close to 97 of these goals are still pending, 49 are said to be on-going while only two have been achieved. The 49 objectives that are indicated as on-going are actually not pure initiatives of the forum but were established before it was formed.
The respective stakeholders who have promised to implement some of the measures are said to be dragging their feet. So far the forum has only managed to persuade the government to suspend duty on buses and imported parts.
Tendai Makwavarara, an economist at the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), said the NECF had failed dismally both in its operations and objectives.
“We still have low growth, high inflation and no investor confidence. Definitely they have failed,” said Makwavarara.
She pointed out that NECF programmes were likely to crumble because they were not supported by a proper budgetary allocation. The 2004 budget did not make an allocation to the forum.
Zimsun chief executive Shingi Munyeza, who has been a major participant, agreed that the forum had degenerated into a talk show but emphasised the need to remain in dialogue.
“The UN is a talk show and so is parliament. The process in the NECF might take a little longer but there is still need to remain in dialogue. Let’s keep talking,” said Munyeza.