Q: That part is dead.
A: No. It’s in the departure lounge, going to get fresh air, to be alive. That’s what is there now but of course we still have the reserved sector but even the reserved sector are saying if there are specific requirements like technology coming in, skills coming in, we’ll open it to people to come in. But otherwise now the indigenisation applies only in relation to those two minerals.
Q: What about government expenditure? The consensus view is that it’s too high.
Q: It’s impossible to sustain at this level for an economy of your size. What are you going to do about government expenditure?
A: Two facts stick out: when the economy was doing well it catered for broader social requirements; heath, education, infrastructure, housing and so on. Suddenly the economy collapsed but the health needs did not collapse, the need of education did not collapse, all social needs never collapsed, they remain the same. So the level of expenditure still remained but the revenue base collapsed so if you understand that then you appreciate what we are going through.
Q: What’s your vision? The China model or the western model?
A: Let me say that we introduced the Look East policy but that was a survival policy. The east stood by us through thick and thin. This is why in my inauguration speech I said, we shall maintain our old friends and take on board those who are willing to become our friends. This was to take care of those who stood by us when the west closed doors against us so countries like China, Brazil, perhaps Russia, India did not close doors on us, they continued to trade with us. They continued to give us soft loans and so on, make projects with us and to some extent they helped us to survive. So although now there is a green light from most of the western countries — talk about Britain, talk about Germany, talk about Spain, talk about France — they’re all showing green, indicative, positive lights for co-operation, opening doors for us in the way, impressing that but we are not forgetting our old friends. We will continue to impress them and continue to interact and deepen our economic co-operation with them but there’s now a broader spectrum where we can go fishing.
Q: Some people I’ve spoken to in the last day or so — talk about Deng Xiaoping as being a model to you, someone who transformed an economy and China’s trajectory, but a strong hand at the tiller. Another analogy would be Paul Kagame. Do you have a model?
A: No. I know I met Deng Xiaoping with President Mugabe, I think, around 1977 or 1978 but let me assure you, I am not Deng Xiaoping . . . but people say the way we are looking at reviving the economy is similar to how Deng Xiaoping did it. But those are their analyses and I think we are doing it on the concrete situation and the facts and the environment existing in my country and if the way we are doing it becomes similar to what Deng Xiaoping did, let it be. But this is what I think is best for my country, best for our people; we open up, we don’t need to reinvent the wheel. We must impress those of technology, skills, ICT to assist us to move forward, jump and catch up with the rest of the world.
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