FORTY-FOURTH POST-CABINET PRESS BRIEFING
8TH DECEMBER, 2020
1. ZIMBABWE’S RESPONSE TO THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK
The Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs, as Chairperson of the COVID-19 Ad-Hoc Inter-Ministerial Task Force, presented an update report on the country’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak, which was adopted by Cabinet.
Cabinet was advised that the country has now ten thousand five hundred and forty-seven (10 547) confirmed COVID-19 cases compared to the nine thousand seven hundred and fourteen (9 714) reported last week. A total of eight thousand six hundred and ninety-eight (8 698) people had recovered from the disease. The national recovery rate stands at 82% per cent. Nine thousand and eighteen (9 018) of the COVID-19 positive cases are attributable to local transmissions. It is regrettable that some 281 lives were lost to the pandemic. Of concern, however, is the increase in the number of new cases detected, from 594 recorded in week 47 to 833 in week 48.
In the learning institutions, a total of 332 COVID-19 cases were reported and the majority of these are asymptomatic, isolated and being monitored by Rapid Response teams in the respective provinces. Cabinet also wishes to reassure the public that the total number of infected learners and teachers out of a population of 4,5 million and 121 272 respectively, is very low. The environment at schools will continue to be monitored as previously undertaken. We continue to urge the need for responsible reporting in this regard. The nation is further assured that the Ministries of Primary and Secondary Education and Health and Child Care will continue to strengthen the implementation of standard operating procedures at schools and public transport spaces in order to curb the increase in new infections.
The nation is called upon to continue exercising extreme caution, and complying with COVID-19 protective and preventative guidelines, protocols and measures in order to arrest the surge in confirmed COVID-19 cases.
2. PROVINCIAL GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCTS
The Minister of Finance and Economic Development presented Provincial Gross Domestic Product statistics for the period 2012 to 2018, which were compiled by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT). Cabinet noted with satisfaction that this is the first such compilation since Independence, which shows the disaggregated figures per province depicting contributions to national economic performance. Compilation and publication of the provincial GDPs buttresses implementation of the Devolution and Decentralisation programme, which brings with it increasing demand for sub-national socio-economic statistics. The data used in the compilation of the regional GDPs was obtained from 15 sectors, including the following: Agriculture, Forestry, Hunting and Fishing; Mining and Quarrying; Manufacturing; Construction; Water Supply, Sewerage, Waste Management and Remedial Activities; Wholesale, Retail Trade and Repair of Motor Vehicles and Motor Cycles; and Education.
The data shows that provinces that are predominantly rural had low percentage contributions to the national GDP and the concerned provinces are Mashonaland Central, Matabeleland North, Manicaland, Matabeleland South and Masvingo. Provinces with more urban areas, namely: Bulawayo, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West, Midlands and Harare, had higher per capita GDP. Interestingly, Matabeleland South which had low GDP had higher per capita GDP, suggesting there is higher factor productivity in the province. Generally, it was found that the Manufacturing and Wholesale, Retail Trade, Repair of Motor Vehicles and Cycles industries dominated other industries in most provinces.
More specifically, provincial GDPs in 2018 were as follows: Bulawayo, US$2.26 billion; Harare, US$9.56 billion; Manicaland, US$1.46 billion; Mashonaland Central, US$1.08 billion; Mashonaland East, US$2.22 billion; Mashonaland West, US$2.14 billion; Masvingo, US$1.41 billion; Matabeleland North, US$1.16 billion; Matabeleland South, US$940 million; and Midlands, US$1.94 billion. On the other hand, the per capita nominal provincial GDPs for 2018 were as follows: Bulawayo, US$3 048; Harare, US$3 614; Manicaland, US$743; Mashonaland Central, US$784; Mashonaland East, US$1 408; Mashonaland West, US$1 206; Masvingo, US$820; Matabeleland North, US$1 333; Matabeleland South, US$1 186; and Midlands, US$1 026 billion.
Government reiterates that going forward, collecting and analysing statistical data disaggregated by province and subsector economic activities will continue to form ZIMSTAT’s core functions. The data will be key in guiding the economic reform agenda of the Second Republic in order to guarantee equitable development as we move towards Vision 2030. Ministers of State for Provincial Affairs will make use of the data in coming up with Provincial Development Plans. The data will henceforth be published for the information of the general citizenry.
3. IMPLEMENTATION, MONITORING AND EVALUATION ROADMAP FOR THE NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY 2021-2025 (NDS 1)
In fulfilment of the undertaking made at the launch of the National Development Strategy 1, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development updated Cabinet on the formulation of an NDS 1 implementation roadmap with clear benchmarks to show the attainment of set goals for purposes of effectively monitoring and evaluating progress made. Cabinet stresses that monitoring and evaluation of the NDS 1 targets will commence from the outset of the strategy period and will be done through an e-enabled information management system. Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies have already undertaken strategic planning workshops to come up with annual plans for the year 2021 which are based on an initial 3-year macro-economic framework. The annual plans form the basis upon which Performance Contracts of Permanent Secretaries will be signed later this month.
The nation is advised that the NDS 1 Monitoring and Evaluation Framework is drawn from the National and Sectoral Development Results Frameworks, which outline National Priorities, Key Result Areas, Outcomes, Key Performance Indicators, Baselines and Targets. The Results-Based Monitoring and Evaluation of NDS1 will place greater emphasis on the measurement of economic and livelihoods transformation results. In order to ensure effective and efficient implementation of NDS 1, bi-annual reviews coupled with Mid-Term and Terminal Evaluation will be undertaken.
At the policy level, coordination of the NDS 1 implementation, monitoring and evaluation will be done by Cabinet. Ministers, Accounting Officers/Permanent Secretaries and Programme Managers will be held accountable for the delivery of identified outcomes and outputs. A High-Level NDS 1 National Steering Committee chaired by the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet and comprising members from the Office of the President and Cabinet, Public Service Commission and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development will produce periodic reports on Results-Based Monitoring and Evaluation of NDS 1 for consideration by the Ministerial Committee chaired by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development.
At the implementation level, the National Monitoring and Evaluation Joint Review Committee, chaired by a Deputy Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, and consisting of all NDS 1 Thematic Working Group Chairs and Co-Chairs will coordinate the work of NDS 1 Thematic Working Groups; engage all key stakeholders; ensure that implementation of NDS 1 remains consistent with the country’s strategic policy direction as outlined by the National Steering Committee; and produce periodic progress reports for consideration by the National Steering Committee. Thematic Working Groups Monitoring and Evaluation Committees, chaired by Lead Ministry Permanent Secretaries and comprising membership from Ministries under the relevant Thematic Working Group will ensure that priorities, as outlined in National Sector Results Frameworks, are implemented timeously, effectively and efficiently. Ministry, Department or Agency (MDA) Management Committees will report on their respective programme outputs and outcomes which will, in turn, contribute to the achievement of the development results at the national, sector or sub-sector levels. In terms of devolution and decentralization results, Provincial Councils and Chiefs Councils will be critical in the monitoring of associated NDS 1 outputs and outcomes. Furthermore, planning, financing and implementation capacities at provincial and district levels will be strengthened to support devolved activities in lower-level tiers of Government.
4. INITIATIVES TOWARDS ACHIEVEMENT OF A US$12
BILLION MINING INDUSTRY BY 2023
The Minister of Mines and Mining Development presented a paper on initiatives towards the achievement of a US$12 billion Mining Industry by 2023. The initiative includes: – 1) plans to fast track exploration, evaluation and digitalization of selected reserved areas under the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development as well as other high-level targets; 2)plans to stop issuance of special grants in the reserved areas under the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development until the exploration and evaluation is completed; 3) value addition program for diamonds; 4) and the issuance and renewal of special grants for energy should be based on the following considerations, amongst others: – (a) for coal the- financial and technical capacity to value add all the types of coal in the respective areas and for coal, the ideal exploration of – (b) for Coal Bed Methane (CBM) – the ideal exploration of Coal Bed Methane (CBM); and (c) for renewal of Special Grants – consideration should take into account the period the Special Grant has been held as well as plans with milestones for value addition of the Special Grant.
5. AFRICAN UNION SUMMIT ON SMART AFRICA
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade informed Cabinet that His Excellency the President had attended an African Union Summit on Smart Africa. The Smart Africa Programme is a bold and innovative commitment by African Heads of State and Governments to provide leadership in accelerating socio-economic development through ICTs. Zimbabwe recently joined the Smart Africa Alliance and has since been mandated to spearhead the SMART Agriculture Programme. Various countries are responsible for other programmes.