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Zimbabwe: Mid-year fiscal review - Tendai Biti

Download full Mid-year review here (PDF)

INTRODUCTION

2. Mr. Speaker Sir, it is exactly 150 days since the Inclusive Government began work on Monday, 16 February 2009.

3. This Mid-Year Fiscal Policy Review updates Honourable Members and the Nation on the State of the Economy, focussing on both fiscal and overall economic developments as we implemented our Short Term Emergency Recovery Programme during the first half of the year.

4. Mr Speaker Sir, given the reality of our situation, and the fact that we are basically starting afresh, this Review will devote itself to economic developments before 2009. An approach that looks at the past creates the necessary platform to correctly inform and excavate the necessary policy adjustments and measures for the future.

5. Most importantly, it is history and our collective understanding of the past which must stand against the temptation to go back to omissions and commissions of the past.

6. The Review also aims to consolidate the framework of openness and economic freedom enunciated in the Short Term Emergency Recovery Programme (STERP). Put simply, it is intended to further rehabilitate the economy from a past of controls and dirigisme, whilst at the same time ensuring the enhancement of safety nets and social protection programmes of STERP.

7. This Review will also realign the 2009 Budget expenditure priorities to expected revenue inflows, consistent with the Cash Budgeting policy thrust we adopted in February 2009. In short, we will continue “eating only that which we have hunted”.

8. Mr Speaker Sir, before turning to the State of the Economy, Honourable Members will acknowledge the inter-linkage between the prevailing political dispensation and developments on the economic front since the formation of the Inclusive Government following last year’s signing of the Global Political Agreement.

9. Mr Speaker Sir, it is common cause that the principal political parties executed a political agreement on 15 September 2008. That agreement represented a voluntary getting together of political actors that were involuntarily brought together by the harsh reality of economic and political factors that forced the same to board the same bus of compromise.

10. The Global Political Agreement represented on both sides the absence of a viable or alternative option to the attrition, stalemate, conflict, violence, debilitating and disempowering effect of a decade long political crisis.

11. That crisis had seen a massive de-industrialisation of the economy, deep seated poverty, sustained periods of negative GDP growth rates, the collapse of social services, food shortages, and massive despondency in the country.

12. The fundamental reality that brought all the actors into an unhappy compromise has not gone away. However, it seems that a few of us either have amnesia or short memories, and that a few were never convinced about the inevitability of the project at the first instance. Whatever the case may be, it is an unacceptable reality that five months down the line there are still critical foundational, qualitative and quantitative issues in respect of this relationship.

13. Furthermore, that there are various breaches of the Global Political Agreement still outstanding and, more fundamentally, that there is little delivery and execution of agreed positions taken in the Global Political Agreement, particularly on matters around human rights and the rule of law is as regrettable as it is unwelcome.

14. The reality of the matter is that political factors need to be liquidated as a matter of urgency so that the country does not continue to be held hostage to the past. Getting politics out of the way requires one thing and one thing alone, the full, proper, unequivocal and unambiguous implementation of the Global Political Agreement in its letter and spirit.

15. Notwithstanding the above, Mr Speaker Sir, this “ship” has left the dock and is in motion. The reality of the matter is that the Inclusive Government is in a net surplus position, performance wise. What is critical, therefore, is to consolidate the gains of the past few months, whilst at the same time ensuring full compliance, implementation, execution and delivery on the outstanding issues.

16. Mr. Speaker Sir, our country had sunk to unacceptably high levels of fragility that bordered on total State failure. Thus, the work of the Inclusive Government involves rehabilitating and rebuilding this country. Put in simple terms, the Inclusive Government’s fundamental function is to re-lay the foundation of a normal functional vibrant African democracy.

17. The foundation stones and the relevant concrete mixes which we laid out in the Short Term Emergency Recovery Programme (STERP) are:

• The establishment of peace and stability in the country;
• The pursuit of a programme of national healing;
• The Constitutional making process and the democratisation agenda;
• Provision of adequate and quality basic social services, social safety nets in the rural and urban areas and, indeed, the execution of a comprehensive social protection programme;
• Macro-economic stabilisation in our country; and
• The socio-economic transformation of Zimbabwe through capital and institutional development that places at the centre, information communication technology.

18. Furthermore, as stated in STERP, our Vision of the house we are constructing is an inclusive, sustainable developmental Zimbabwe that is based on participatory democracy.

19. In this regard, the operational objectives of the Inclusive Government as clearly enunciated in STERP are:

• The creation of a responsive, yet efficient State that uses redistributive mechanisms, social rights, while maintaining social development;
• Building of a strong economy, using market principles with careful State interventions to advance social protection and justice;
• Establishment of a participatory political democracy through the new people driven Constitution and the rebuilding of fundamental democratic institutions in our country.

20. Indeed, it is in the best interest of every Zimbabwean that the above Vision becomes a shared one. We do not have a right to abuse future generations by kidnapping the future to the present order of political uncertainty, hypocrisy, opportunism, prevarication and political fornication. We have a duty to be decisive, consistent, reliable, honest and true to our agreements.

Download full Mid-year review here (PDF)

Comments

True Grit says:

Keep up the good work Mr Biti, future generations depend on you. Democratisation can be fraught with dangers, especially when dealing with a party such as Zanu-PF. The trick is to show the outside world that it can only have confidence in a positive outcome when Morgan, you and your colleagues are part of the healing team. It is the difference between success and failure, winning and losing, a certain future overcoming a failed and discredited past.

Submitted by True Grit on 18 July 2009 - 5:46pm

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