By Oriel Khumalo and Nomalanga Makhwelo
Government this year expects the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to grow by 7,4% ,powered by foreign investment in different sectors of the economy.
Presenting the 2021 Pre-Budget Strategy Paper themed: “Building Resilience and Economic Recovery Post Covid-19” last year Minister of Finance and Economic Development outlined suggested priorities for the national budget, which are guided by the National Development Strategy (NDS I: 2021-25).
The economy is predicted to recover from a projected contraction of – 4.5 percent in 2020 to a growth of 7.4 percent, driven by consumption (2.6 percent) and investment (5.8 percent) improvements.
Addressing journalists during a media briefing in Bulawayo over the weekend , Minister of Finance and Economic development Professor Mthuli Ncube , said that citizens should continue to brace themselves in witnessing economic growth as sectors such as energy and power have massive investment which would boost energy production and in turn contribute to the growth of the economy.
According to Professor Ncube government received loans from India and China which are meant to support a thermal power station in Bulawayo and Inyathi .
“We have received concessional loans from India to support the thermal power stations here in Bulawayo and Inyathi and also loans from China to support Hwange Power Station. There is progress in the Batoka Hydro Project and we also now have massive investment in the coal sector in the Hwange area to ensure that Zimbabwe becomes a net producer of power over the next 3-4 years” , said Prof. Ncube .
While the agriculture sector which impacts the overall growth of the economy is also said to be performing well after receiving foreign investment which sees the country expecting to harvest 2.7 million metric tons of maize.
” The other area of recovery is agriculture and this year we expect to harvest about 2.71 million metric tons of maize for example , the last time we saw that type of figure was in 1982 so we are back there in terms of output which is incredible. With traditional grains we see a serious uptake in sweet potatoes , soya beans and cotton is up almost by 200 % in output so we are seeing a recovery in agriculture which has an impact in the overall economic growth “.
Besides the boom in these two sectors , Minister Ncube stated that economic growth was also ensured by remittances of the diaspora aid which he said surpasses foreign aid as well as stability of the local currency and other policies under the monetary policy .
“Diaspora remittances have over taken foreign aid in almost all African countries as the largest inflow into the economy to support vulnerable families . It is now the largest form of aid into any economy and Zimbabwe is a good example “.
Also speaking on widespread plight of civil servants as the country joined the rest of the world in celebrating workers day, Professor Ncube added that although there were challenges that government had to address when it came to the welfare of civil servants, government believed that it had improvements in dealing with issues of salary increment as compared to previous year.