President Emmerson Mnangagwa launched the Zimbabwe National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) on Monday, the second blueprint launched by his administration since it came to power three years ago.
It is a successor to the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP) which ran from 2018 to 2020 and credited with taming fiscal deficits and exchange rate volatility—the midwives to Zimbabwe’s economic crisis.
NDS1 will build on TSP with the aim of making Zimbabwe an upper middle income country by 2030. Vision 2030 is Zimbabwe’s new hymn and seems to have drowned the “Zimbabwe is open for business” mantra.
In his foreword to the blueprint, President Mnangagwa said NDS1 recognises that bold and transformative measures are required to underpin the drive towards the attainment of 2030 National Vision.
Where Zimbabwe is supposed to walk, it has to run as slow and incremental change will not deliver the transformation that the people of Zimbabwe deserve.
NDS1 is also premised on the “intentional mobilisation of domestic growth vectors” which emphasise on attending to the “development and capacitation of key national institutions” to create the enabling environment critical for “transformative economic growth”.
This is in addition to the international re-engagement drive. NDS1 has to “deliberately leverage Zimbabwe`s competitive advantages particularly with regards to the configuration of our natural resource endowment, our excellent ecological endowment and our skills base”.
It calls for the deepening of the tenets of good corporate governance as enunciated in our Vision 2030 for transformative and inclusive growth to bring benefits to all Zimbabweans in a “fair, transparent and just manner”.
The new blueprint’s objectives are to strengthen macroeconomic stability, characterised by low and stable inflation, as well as exchange rate stability, achieve and sustain inclusive and equitable real GDP growth, promoting new enterprise development, employment and job creation and strengthen social infrastructure and social safety nets.
It also seeks to ensure sustainable environmental protection and resilience, promote good governance and corporate social investment and modernise the economy through use of ICT and digital technology.
This is not the first such blueprint to be launched by the government.
Over a dozen of such documents have been unveiled since 1980 designed to take Zimbabwe to the Promised Land.
But all these documents have failed on implementation. There is the monster called political will which has devoured previous blueprints.
Where a blueprint talked of rationalisation in the civil service, the government would melt at the idea fearing a possible backlash from potential voters.
Privatisation of loss making enterprises has been there since the 90s but it’s a hot potato.
This is because the parastatals and state owned enterprises have become the feeding trough for politicians and the jobs for the boys and girls.
This is where you find allegiance to the minister and the same minister will appoint familiar faces on boards of parastatals under his or her watch.
There are some areas where the government could have excelled but faltered on the seemingly low hanging fruits such as aligning laws to the Constitution.
Seven years after the Constitution came into being; some laws are still to be aligned to the Constitution.
The business as usual approach which is now creeping into this new administration has to be discarded.
In the absence of a paradigm shift, the epitaph on NDS1 after five years will read: Here lies a fantastic document that failed on implementation.