SINCE the country’s independence in 1980, Zimbabwe has come up with several economic blue prints aimed at promoting sustainable economic growth and poverty alleviation.
These include: Transitional National Development Plan; First Five-Year National Development Plan; Economic Structural Adjustment Programme; Zimbabwe Programme for Economic and Social Transformation; Vision 2020 and Long Term Development Strategy; Medium-Term Plan; Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation.
All these economic programmes with various acronyms were abandoned mid-way. Zimbabwe has no shortage of blueprints but the problem is with implementation. But what I want to focus on this week is the long-term economic revival blueprint, Vision 2020, which came into effect on March 29, 2000. The Zanu PF government popularised the Vision 2020 agenda, whose goals and objectives were have forgotten.
Former deputy prime minister Arthur Mutambara exposed government’s lack of seriousness in implementing its programmes during the Government of National Unity era. Mutambara confessed that: “Vision 2020 is nowhere to be found and is probably gathering dust somewhere.”
There is no clearer evidence to show that government policies are rarely measured on progress. The biggest problem is that leaders are never held accountable.
With no explanation, Vision 2020 was dumped. This raises concerns about government’s commitment and the political will to fulfil objectives of its Vision 2030 agenda launched by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in 2018
According to the policy document crafted in 2000, “Zimbabwe’s vision for 2020 is to be a united, strong, democratic, prosperous and egalitarian nation with a high quality of life for all Zimbabweans by the year 2020”.
Under the programme, government sought economic revival which was to be spearheaded by good governance, political stability, sustainable macro-economic growth, regional and provisional management of human and natural resources.
Its targets included doubling the gross domestic product in 23 years, stabilising inflation to single digit, achieving and maintaining positive real interest rates, reducing budget deficit to manageable levels, decreasing substantially unemployment rate and increasing investment and national savings to at least 30%.
To meet the targets, the government pledged to ensure the following:
l Efficient public sector resources management in which government lived within it means, reduce deficit, state enterprises reforms and enhance revenue generation
l Industrialisation — promoting value addition to local raw materials, further processing of manufactured outputs
l Agriculture — target full commercialisation and expand output ahead of inflation.
The programme was anchored on pillars and aspirations, which included good governance, maintenance of political stability, diversified economy with high growth rate, access to social services, like health, education, housing, efficient energy sources and access to electricity and clean water, by all, acceleration of rural development, equal opportunities for all and construction of dams.
The promises have proven to be a pie in the sky. Infact, in terms of economic imperatives, we are now worse off than we were in 2000.
There is a striking contrast between what was promised and what is pertaining on the ground. Inflation now stands at 521,1%, unemployment above 95%, the quality of health delivery has plummeted to the extent that patients have to buy basics like bandages, syringes and painkillers and load-shedding of up to 18 hours a day, more than half the population is starving, high school dropouts, among a plethora of socio-economic problems Zimbabweans are grappling. What is outlined in the Vision 2020 document is what ordinary Zimbabweans and business have been calling on government to put into practice. The problem in Zimbabwe is not lack of vision but lack of implementation. We have many theorists and no executors. We hope to see more political will in implementing what is outlined in Vision 2030. Let’s hope it will not gather dust somewhere as did Vision 2020.