By Justin Mahlahla
The first Cabinet meeting of 2022 took place today in the capital, with President Emmerson Mnangagwa reminding ministers to increase their work rate towards a more successful government.
In his address, President Mnangagwa said many successes were scored during the past four years of the Second Republic, as it seeks to improve the plight of the people of Zimbabwe.
“Against the backdrop of the signing of Performance Contracts last week; let us increase our work rate towards being a more successful Government. Individually and collectively we have a sacred obligation to press on for more, and better results.
“Patriotism and loyalty to our National Vision; unflinching commitment and dedication to serving the people of our country; thoroughness in the execution of tasks, among other attributes is what will propel high impact results. We must speak in unison and work with greater synergy. We are only as strong as the weakest link among us. As such, due attention must be given not only to our strengths but also to our weaknesses over and above the weaker Ministries, Departments and Agencies,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said following a patchy start to the 2021/2022 summer cropping season, there are now enhanced prospects for an overall good season, which will further consolidate national food security, according to a report from the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development.
“The economy has been projected to grow by around 7.4% this year, driven mainly by buoyant performance of the mines and minerals sector,” said President Mnangagwa.
He added: “This comes against the backdrop of an expected rebound of the global economy, as recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic continues. On our part, we are fully geared to curtail the negative impacts of the scourge. The country’s vaccine stocks are sufficient to achieve herd immunity. Our message to the people remains focused on vaccination as the first line of defence, given the mutating nature of the virus.”
“Meanwhile, it is my firm hope that in 2022, this Cabinet will develop and implement more innovative and multi-pronged strategies to drive economic growth towards the achievement of the targets outlined in the National Development Strategy 1 and beyond.”
The President noted that the number of households in dire need for alternative accommodation has risen as well as infrastructure that needs rehabilitation, following an increase in violent storms and floods due to climate change.
“Undoubtedly, climate change has exposed our socio-economic landscape to massive damages in both rural and urban settlements. The Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care, in his capacity as the Chair of the Enhanced Cabinet Committee on Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Management, will present the preliminary report on this matter, for the information and decision of Cabinet,” he said.
President Mnangagwa spoke about the need to guarantee adequate electricity supply to all sectors of the economy in order to sustain the momentum of economic recovery and growth.
He said internal efforts to increase power generation should be strengthened, including through the issuance of licences to more Independent Power Producers, adding, “The challenges currently affecting the Southern African Power Pool requires innovative solutions.”
Regarding engagement and re-engagement drive, President Mnangagwa reminded Cabinet about a comprehensive compendium of regional co-operation agreements across all critical sectors received at the last Cabinet meeting of 2021, saying he expected progress updates on the respective agreements, Ministry by Ministry, to be tabled for consideration by Cabinet during the first quarter of 2022.
He added: “International co-operation agreements will also require attention as we take our engagement and re-engagement programme to new levels. Our Foreign Missions are expected to work tirelessly to advance our economic diplomacy, including through the identification of niche markets for our diverse range of exports.”
“The use of Information Communication Technologies as well as Science, Technology and Innovation in general, should be deployed to enhance our country’s competitive and comparative advantages. It is the second year since the operationalisation of the African Continental Free Trade Area.
“Hence, as we open up our economy to the free movement of goods and services, it is incumbent upon us to continue to put in place mechanisms which safeguard the national interest,” he said.
He said: “The implementation of the critical, high-impact programmes and projects under the 100-Day Cycles, entails that we keep the upliftment of the quality of livelihoods of our people, top priority.
“The infrastructural projects should enhance the provision of critical economic enablers, while at the same time creating jobs that improve the welfare of citizens and their contribution to the Gross Domestic Product.”
The President indicated that visible transformation is imperative across all the country’s provinces following the substantial resource envelop availed for the Devolution and Decentralization Programme in the 2022 National Budget.
“The Office of the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution has since been strengthened. The thrust is to ensure that the focus of planning and managing implementation of development progressively shifts to provinces and the community levels. For consistency and greater synergies, Ministers of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution will be co-opted into some Cabinet Committees,” he said.
He said the need for Government to attain all set targets cannot be over emphasized and this should be spurred by heightened attention to detail and implementation of strategies as captured in the performance contracts signed last week on the 10th of February 2022.
“The quarterly reports under NDS1 will form a critical part of an agenda to ensure that we track our progress in that regard. It is my firm belief that, coupled with the continuous improvement in the conditions of service for our staff; Vision 2030 is attainable. Cabinet’s workflow should be more predictable so that we focus more on implementation of policies and programmes. You are all required to ensure that your proposals are submitted in time to enable Cabinet to deliberate on the matters more robustly,” he added.
President Mnangagwa said he had observed a worrisome trend whereas ministers are now prone to foreign travel, along with their senior officials.
“This unbecoming culture should stop forthwith,” he said.