NEC must have bite — Mashakada

Bernard Mpofu

ECONOMIC Planning and Investment Promotion minister Tapiwa Mashakada has appealed to negotiators of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) to grant more powers to the proposed think tank, the National Economic Council.

The NEC is a critical component of the inclusive government’s plan to restore macro-economic stability in Zimbabwe’s ailing economy. Article 3 of the GPA spells out that principals should establish the NEC which would be composed of representatives of the three political parties in the inclusive government, commerce and industry leaders, plus labour and academia.

Former economic planning minister Elton Mangoma said other nominations had been made but political parties failed to make theirs as tensions rose within the inclusive government over opposing political positions.

Mashakada told the Zimbabwe Independent on Wednesday that after delays in setting up the council, he wanted the think tank to be an executive body whose decisions would be binding and not an advisory council as espoused in the GPA.

The terms of reference of the council, according to the power-sharing deal, would include giving advice to government and such other functions as assigned to the council by government.

Mashakada proposes to model the council along similar structures as those in economic powerhouses like China and Malaysia or regional peers Kenya and Uganda.

“I have written to the chief negotiators of the GPA appealing to them that they revise Article 3 of the power sharing agreement so that the NEC becomes an executive body,” Mashakada said.

“The GPA says it should be an advisory body but I as minister of economic planning would recommend that the NEC would be an executive
body so that whatever recommendations it makes would be binding. I don’t have faith in non-executive bodies.”

The setting up of the NEC was one of the outstanding issues of the GPA that was raised at the November 2009 Sadc Troika meeting in Maputo.

Other outstanding issues of the GPA include the arbitrary reappointment by President Robert Mugabe of the central bank governor Gideon Gono, attorney-general Johannes Tomana and the issue of provincial governors.

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