Tweaks evidence failure

LONDON - With the Zanu PF squabbles hopefully tapering off, it is time for the party to refocus on its election promises.

One such promise was that Zanu PF would deliver 2,2 million jobs before 2018. So far, there is no indication that the party will fulfil this promise.

This undertaking will be made even more difficult to achieve with people like Christopher Mushowe.

Given charge of the Indigenisation ministry, Mushowe, was quick to tell potential investors that the 49 percent equity stipulated under the Indigenisation Act was just the maximum.

He appeared to contradict newly-appointed Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa who had earlier suggested the indigenisation law would be amended in order to make it investor-friendly.

A few days later, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa confirmed this, stating that a Bill would be tabled before Parliament to allow individual ministries to determine equity distributions.

This appears to be a step in the right direction if safeguards against corruption can be put in place.

Post-colonial redistribution of wealth is an unquestionably noble agenda.

However, it becomes problematic when it contradicts globally-established economic convention.

A balance is required between achieving redistributive goals without stifling economic growth.

Zanu PF’s radical nationalist redistributive project has imperilled national development.

One South African commentator described the current attempts to reconfigure the local political economy as the “demagogic appropriation” of what should be progressive nationalist discourse.

The nationalist discourse is often encapsulated in mantras such as “Zimbabwe will never be a colony again.”

But suggestions of re-colonisation in the 21st Century are ludicrously anachronistic.

Foreign investment does not constitute re-colonisation unless the Russians and the Chinese — Zimbabwe’s favoured investors — are colonising us too.

Global investments form established and viable economic practice.

Around the globe, both developed nations — that includes even Britain and the US — and other under-developed countries like ours are seeking ways to attract foreign investment.

The indigenisation project on its own cannot deliver 2,2 million jobs in the next three years or even 10.

Neither the Russian nor the Chinese investments can help Zanu PF achieve this ambitious goal.

We have to be attractive to all potential investors. In its current incarnation, the indigenisation law has impeded foreign direct investment (FDI).

In April last year, Information minister Jonathan Moyo vowed that a “winning policy” would not be revised.

The proposed amendment of the indigenisation law is a tacit admission that, in its present form, it is not a winning law or policy.

We should not posture as any more special than other countries. Like other countries, we have to fight for investors on the market.

According to statistics presented by Chinamasa, more than 4 600 companies shut shop since 2011, resulting in 55 400 job losses.

Other regional countries have, instead, been achieving significant growth.

Mozambique’s economy remained one of the most dynamic in Africa.

In 2013, the country registered a seven percent rate of real gross domestic product (GDP) growth. According to the African Development Bank, the main drivers of growth were FDI.

Zimbabwe is expected to realise 3,2 percent growth in 2015.

Zambia’s FDI hit slightly below $2 billion in the same year, up from the $1,6 billion recorded the previous year.

These are just a few countries around us that are achieving economic growth.

Neither of these countries wants “to be a colony again.”  But they realise you cannot go against established economic orthodoxy in the name of a demagogic redistributive nationalist ideology and expect economic growth.   

Economic development and job-creation for our youths, in particular, is not a partisan matter but a social issue; it should not to be the subject of unproductive ideological posturing.

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