Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai says any party that will win elections next year must maintain the Medium Term Plan (MTP), a five-year economic development programme launched by government last year to revive Zimbabwe’s economy.
In remarks launching the MTP’s first annual implementation progress report, Mr. Tsvangirai called the MTP “Zimbabwe’s lifeline to development” that will guide the country until 2015.
He said the call for peaceful elections by principals of the unity government must translate into reality because there can be no progress without peace and instability.
Mr. Tsvangirai bemoaned what he called the lack of a common vision among the country’s leadership saying that the resulting discord adversely affects development.
In gauging the effectiveness of the MTP, Economic Development and Investment Promotion Minister, Tapiwa Mashakada, said the results are mixed, in that the plan has performed well in some areas, but not so well in major areas such as Energy, Mining and Agriculture.
For example, Mashakada said the MTP had set target growth for agriculture at 19 percent in 2011 but the sector grew by only 11 percent, and the projected target for 2012, which had been 15 percent, has since been downgraded by 5 percent.
He blamed the controversial Indigenisation law for chasing away investors saying his ministry has come up with legislation to rectify the situation by harmomising the indigenisation and investment laws.
World Bank economist Nadia Piffaretti said it is important for Zimbabwe to properly manage its mining industry as it has a potential to drive other sectors of the economy.
She said research by the World Bank showed that the mining industry has the potential to contribute about $15 billion by 2018 and create about 30,000 jobs.
Most speakers said the MTP was unable to perform as expected largely as result of lack of resources.
The Monday conference got off to a strained start as members of the police band declined to play the national anthem in the absence of Vice President Joyce Mujuru.
Mujuru had been scheduled to launch the report but she sent Sylvester Nguni, a minister in her office, instead.
But even Nguni, representing Mujuru, could not convince the band to play the anthem.
Minister Mashakada was so upset by the incident that he called the band’s refusal to play tantamount to treason.
Few Zanu-PF ministers were present. Only Nguni and Deputy Finance Minister, Samuel Undenge and Mike Bimha of Commerce and industry were there.
Meanwhile, Zanu PF says it is not interested in the Medium Term Plan because it has its own that will be launched in the event that the party wins elections next year.
Spokesman Rugare Gumbo accused Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC party of using the plans to look for votes.