ECONOMY ON THE MEND :CHINAMASA | The Zimbabwean economy is on a recovery path despite the present fiscal deficit, Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa said yesterday.

BROKE GOVT FORCED TO RETRENCH

Making a presentation during the ongoing 16th Zanu PF National People’s Conference in Masvingo, Minister Chinamasa told delegates that the economy is on the right track despite the subdued fiscal space to which Government has found effective strategies.

He revealed that the Government had imported enough maize to last the country eight months.“The economy is on the right track now despite the challenges of fiscal deficit, debt challenge, cash challenges and low productivity. However, we have come up with measures to address these challenges,” said Minister Chinamasa.

He said all the economic challenges are symptoms of low productivity hence the introduction of Statutory Instrument 64 which promotes local industry. Minister Chinamasa said the emphasis should be on productivity adding that people should, “eat, sleep and dream” productivity.

The minister said the Government has taken a deliberate stance on addressing food security issues through the ambitious Command Agriculture with enough inputs having been secured for the farmers.

“We have imported enough maize to last eight months and this will address food security. We have also introduced Command Agriculture for which we have secured inputs,” he said.
Minister Chinamasa said the Government has also supported the Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) which has seen many pupils doing science subjects.

He said Government has completed a concession agreement for the dualisation of Beitbridge-Chirundu highway and has completed the construction of Tokwe-Mukosi Dam project which will see 26 000 hectares of land put under irrigation.

He said Government is working on upgrading the Bulawayo Power station to 90 megawatt capacity after securing $85 million from African Development Bank.
Addressing the same conference Mines and Mining Development Minister Cde Walter Chidhakwa called for the regularisation of artisanal miners into formal mining saying the sector accounted for 55, 94 percent in 2016 of total exports receipts.

He said the country experienced a slight decrease in gold production compared to 2015 and called on Government to assist small scale miners by availing personnel with the requisite skills and expertise.
Minister Chidhakwa called on the amendment of Mines and Minerals Act so that the ministry can  take over tracts of land with mining claims yet to be exploited.

On Chiadzwa mining operations in Manicaland , Minister Chidhakwa said production has gone down for this year because of the ownership structure introduced by Government but assured the nation that all will be in place come 2017.

He said there are chrome deposits that some private companies are selling adding Government will soon have control over the mines.

“Zimasco in Midlands has 22 000 hectares of land with chrome deposits that we want our indigenous people to benefit from. Still in the same province, there is Zim Alloys which has 20 000 hectares of land with chrome deposits that we should also give people who are interested in mining. The price of chrome has increased on the world market,” he added

Industry and commerce Minister Cde Mike Bimha said industry’s capacity utilisation has risen from 34,3 percent in 2015 to 47,4 percent in 2016 due to the introduction of SI 64 which is meant to promote local production.

The conference which started on Tuesday with a politburo meeting at the party’s headquarters and a central committee meeting on Wednesday is running under the theme, “Moving with Zim-Asset in Peace and Unity”.

The conference ends today.

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