Govt courts Old Mutual

HARARE - Government is courting insurance and property giant — Old Mutual — to supports its ambitious agricultural and housing development programmes as it seeks to revive its romance with the private sector following years of frosty relations.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government seeks to jump-start the agricultural sector and construct thousands of houses for desperate home seekers under its national housing delivery policy.

The private sector, including banks has been building mainly low-cost houses as part of complementing government on its delivery policy.

Speaking during the Old Mutual’s Anchoring in Africa dinner gala in Harare last week, Mnangagwa said the major custodian of the savings and investments of the nation must play its role in assisting government programmes.

“I would like to challenge Old Mutual to consider investing in agriculture under the Command Agriculture programme as well as pursuing other investments that will quicken the resuscitation of our horticulture industry.

“I note that Old Mutual has over the years partnered government in response to the national housing backlog as well as in the provision of decent and convenient trading spaces throughout the country.

“In this regard, I exhort the company to take leadership in our renewed thrust to increase and modernise our infrastructure, in line with the current and global trends and developments,” said Mnangagwa.

Government has introduced multiple command programmes to breathe life in the agricultural sector which received a huge knock when the country embarked on disorderly agrarian reforms in 2000.

Its anchor programme, Command Agriculture has, for the first time in 18 years, seen Zimbabwe returning to a position of food sustenance although its funding mechanism has raised serious questions on transparency.

Parliament at one time opened a probe into the funding of the Command Agriculture programme before it went on a cold trail.

Since 2000 until last season’s harvest, Zimbabwe was spending on average $500 million on grain imports due to little agricultural activity and effects of climate change.


 

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