PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe this week said the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) and Zimplats were negotiating the use of underutilised claims owned by the South African mining g
“Negotiations are currently underway with Zimplats for the ZMDC to mine underutilised claims as well as other platinum claims on a joint venture basis with Norinco Company of the Peoples’ Republic of China,” Mugabe said.
In his state of the nation address on Tuesday, which was boycotted by MDC legislators including independent MP Jonathan Moyo, Mugabe said there was no going back on the Look East policy.
“Clearly, Zimbabwe is very much looking East and there is no going back.”
Commenting on declining exports, Mugabe said government had concluded a national export strategy in consultation with key stakeholders.
The strategy seeks to come up with an industrial development policy that will transform Zimbabwe from an exporter of primary commodities to a major exporter of competitively priced value-added goods.
Mugabe also said the government had come up with a new scheme called Operation Food Security, to boost country’s food stocks.
Mugabe told the legislators and senators that government would be putting in place policy instruments such as the Empowerment Bill, the National Empowerment Fund and the Empowerment Charter.
“The instruments seek to create a comprehensive institutional and ethical framework for indigenisation and empowerment programmes; facilitate financial assistance to further indigenise the economy and forestall negative tendencies of empowerment that previously manifested themselves in the form of economic malpractices and corruption,” Mugabe said.
He said government was aware of the impact of droughts which had forced the country to divert scare foreign exchange resources to finance food imports.
“To enhance agricultural production and meet national requirements of 1,8 million metric tonnes of cereals, targeted production has been introduced through Operation Food Security/Maguta/ Inala by government,” Mugabe said.
“The major objectives of the programme are to boost the country’s food security and consolidate national strategic reserves. Further, government’s strategy to ensure food security and surplus for export is to have at least 300 000 hectares of maize put under irrigation.”
He said communities were being mobilised to grow new crops such as cassava and pursue other agricultural activities as a way of contributing towards food security and poverty reduction.