Zim Asset fatally flawed: Kanyenze

Zimbabwe is going backwards, and government must implement serious economic reform, says a respected economist.

Godfrey Kanyenze
Godfrey Kanyenze

“What is happening in Zimbabwe is deindustrialisation. We are going backwards,” said Godfrey Kanyenze, the director of the Labour and Economic Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe, in an exclusive interview.

“Zimbabwe is in serious debt distress. We have accumulated arrears and we need to come up with serious reform measures that improve revenue generation, rehabilitate infrastructure and deal with power outages. We are struggling with very basic things,” he said.

“Zim Asset was extracted from the Zanu (PF) manifesto and therefore has violated the idea of having people driven policies. It did not come from the people. More than one million people voted for the MDC and this means that their views were not incorporated in the document,” he said.

He questioned why the government was embarking on a new economic program when the previous one had not finished its course. “Midway through the Medium Term Plan we are coming up with another blueprint. This promotes polarisation. Zimbabwe is known for economic blueprints and shoddy implementation. We have had 14 economic blueprints since independence and the results have been the same,” he said.

Kenyenze also said the country was being hurt by its dependence on mining. “Most of our export earnings come from mining. This means we are dependent on commodity earnings, which fluctuate. On top of that, the mining sector is dominated by about five mining houses and this increases our vulnerability,” he said.

Kanyenze, who co-authored a book on pro-poor and inclusive development in Zimbabwe titled Beyond the Enclave, said the country would continue with an enclave economy due to the unrelenting rise of the informal sector and the government’s failure to address economic decline

“Geographically an enclave is a territory within another territory – or an economy within an economy. This territory becomes a source of cheap labour and also acts as a means of social protection. In Zimbabwe you see this in the form of the communal areas and the informal sector,” he explained.

The book highlights the need for people-driven policies to combat poverty. Kanyenze blasted the government’s latest economic blueprint, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Social-Economic Transformation.

Kanyenze bemoaned the state of service delivery in the country and condemned the rush to elections with limited resources. “Zimbabwe is currently facing limited fiscal space. In 2013 money that could have been used to fund important services for the people was diverted to fund elections”.

He said the country was left to grapple with a huge import bill and domestic arrears and at the same time face the effects of populist measures such as the scrapping of ZESA and local authorities’ bills.

After five years of discord in the Government of National Unity, Kanyenze said now that Zanu (PF) was on its own in government there was no room for excuses: “There is no internal paralysis. We expect unhindered implementation. There is no more hiding space for the ruling party.”

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