President urges government to be in touch with communities

By ZBC Reporter
INFORMATION, Publicity & Broadcasting Services Minister Senator Monica Mutsavangwa said Cabinet on Tuesday held is first Cabinet meeting for the year 2020 in the Cabinet room at Munhumutapa offices where several reports were tabled by cabinet ministers.
Flanked by the Chief Secretary to the Cabinet, Dr Misheck Sibanda, Finance & Economic Development Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube, Public Service, Labour & Social Welfare, Professor Larry Mavhima, Health & Child Care Minister, Dr Obadiah Moyo, Minister of Information, Publicity & Broadcasting Services, Senator Monica Mutsvangwa said the government‘s priority is to guarantee food security and ensure every effort is being directed towards that front.
Addressing the first Cabinet Decisions Matrix for the year, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said President Emmerson Mnangagwa acknowledged challenges facing the nation.
“While noting the progress registered by the Second Republic, particularly the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP), His Excellency the President acknowledged the challenges that the people had bravely endured,” she said.
“He then laid out the business for 2020 based on set principles. He stated that the year 2020 heralded the era of productivity, economic growth and employment creation. His Excellency the President reiterated that as Cabinet, our immediate priority must be to guarantee food security and directed that all efforts be focused on that front,” she highlighted.
Senator Mutsvangwa noted that President Mnangagwa encouraged cabinet ministers and government officials as well as other political leaders to spend more time with the rural and marginalised people to ensure nobody starves due to the drought and lack of food and ensure they improve the quality of life of the people in rural areas.
She said Cabinet also resolved to support a monocurrency economy, competitive pricing and products while the Security sector was implored to deal decisively with machete gangs and other malcontents bent on causing disorder and chaos.
Senator Mutsvangwa said the Minister of Energy & Power Development, Advocate Fortune Chasi had also tabled a report on the proposed Amendment of the Electricity Act Chapter 13.9 which relates to wanton damage and theft of electricity equipment and infrastructure. The proposed amendment advocates stiffer penalties for damage to ZESA’s infrastructure or vandalism and /or theft of transformers, transformer oil and copper cables which has become rampant.
She said a total of 929 transformers in the Northern Region, 625 in Western , 525 in Harare alone while 24 in the Eastern region were either damaged or vandalised during the past year.
The Amendment seeks to Renew part of the Electricity Act and penalties to make them more deterrent, advocating for mandatory sentences of up to 30 years in jail as opposed to fines.
“There is need for deterrent sentences for would-be-offenders and to ensure adequate surveillance and even the introduction of electronic monitoring gadgets to ensure better security,” said Senator Mutsvangwa.
Another report was also tabled on the country’s successful participation at the just ended World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland . A Zimbabwe delegation which was headed by Finance & Economic Development Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube attended the 50th edition of the WEF held in Davos from 20-24the January 2019 which discussed zero tolerance to corruption, competitive level playing field among other important issues as well as a Zimbabwe Investment Forum which was attended by a number of international investors, companies and interested persons in Switzerland.
Responding to questions from journalists during the post-cabinet briefing, Professor Ncube said ZWL$11 billion had been set aside for agriculture both the command and presidential inputs programmes as the country did not receive the expected rains.
“We are importing 100 metric tonnes of grain and opened up credit lines, so far so good and we hope to build adequate reserves at GMB targeting non-GMO Genetically Modified Organic maize and GMOs for immediate consumption, as part of efforts to ensure food security we are also working with organisations such as World Food Programme (WFP) among others on that front, and am glad we are on top of the situation with efforts of the government,” said Professor Ncube.
Senator Mutsvangwa said Professor Larry Mavhima, Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare also reported on the Tripartite National Forum (TNF) to Cabinet outlining progress made so far on key socio-economic issues in the country.
“The idea of a TNF is for the country to come together and seek solutions to challenges, industrialise and find each other as government, employers, employees-labour to come up with strategies that move the country towards the aspirations for the country to be middle income economy by 2030.
“The report recommended the Need to develop and come up with monitoring mechanism for maintaining fiscal policy that target inflation, while discussion also included productivity issues, full operationalisation of the TNF, Expediting labour reform, income policy, salaries and wages, social services, development programme and shared economic vision, and more importantly the Social contract,” she said
Senator Mutsvangwa said the main TNF meeting is set for this Wednesday at NSSA House where several government officials including Ministers of Finance & Economic Development, Health & Child Care, Industry & Commerce, Justice, Legal & Parliamentary Affairs, Lands & Agriculture, Information, Publicity & Broadcasting Services would take part.
On Power Supply & Development, Engery & Power Development Minister, Advocate Fortune Chasi also gave an update on electricity generation in the country which he described as still depressed due to low rainfall received in the country.
The firts 2020 cabinet meeting was preceeded by the commissioning of the e-Cabinet system in the Cabinet room at Munhumutapa which was presided over by President Mnangagwa.
The Digital method of running government business is aimed at activating more productivity and growth. The Government is going paperless to accelerate the improvement and expedite government business.