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Friday, July 19, 2024

Austerity measures bear fruit

Story by Mthokozisi Dube

GOVERNMENT is on course to achieving the 5% economic growth projected during the first five years of the economic transformation journey as enunciated in the National Development Strategy One, which runs from 2021 to 2025.

Delivering a public lecture at the National University of Science and Technology in Bulawayo this Monday, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Professor Mthuli Ncube noted that the macro-economic environment is pointing to the attainment of the envisaged target of an upper middle-income society by 2030.

With NDS1 anchored on various pillars ranging from food security, infrastructure development, agriculture, mining and manufacturing, Professor Ncube says the country has come out of the hoods.

He said, “I am pleased today that I was able to interface with students from higher and tertiary institutions to explain to them our economic transformation journey that is taking place under NDS1 under the New Dispensation. I was able to cover basically the environmental climate in terms of the global economy, African economy and of course our own economy, but also going deeper into the real economy and things that are driving the economy and transformation that we are experiencing, transformation in agriculture, mining, infrastructure and manufacturing sector.’’

Minister Ncube also highlighted that the use of the local currency has brought a favourable balance of payment which has also seen locally manufactured goods dominating retail shops.

‘‘I was happy to hear that 70% of products in supermarkets are locally manufactured goods. Those are the signs we are making progress in economic transformation and this is a result of value addition.”

After interfacing with the Treasury chief, students from tertiary institutions implored other government officials to engage all stakeholders in policy formulation.

A student noted, ‘‘We were happy to engage the minister on economic issues as future leaders. He was very articulate in responding to our pertinent issues.’’

Another student said, ‘‘Our plea is for all our government officials to pursue the engagement route.’’

Another student, Tariro noted, ‘‘As students, it was quite refreshing to hear that government is contemplating re-introducing student loans because were worried.”

From the economic score card, the Second Republic has embarked on agriculture transformation through sound financing models resulting in dams like the Bubi-Lupane contributing to food security while on the energy sector, the expansion of the Hwange Unit 7 and 8 is expected to contribute a combined 600 megawatts to the national grid.

On infrastructure development, government is moving with speed to provide onsite accommodation for students.

The modernisation of the Beitbridge Border Post to the tune of US$300 million and the establishment of the Manhize Iron and Steel Plant which is expected to position

Zimbabwe as a giant in steel production, are some of the positives achieved under the five year NDS1.

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