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Mashakada says Zimbabwe can be turned around if ministers work as hard as Chinamasa

Mr. Speaker Sir, I also note that command agriculture is going to be rolled out to wheat, livestock, cotton, fisheries and other sectors.  Fair and fine, but we need to improve on the public financial management system for this very important programme.  I would rather have Parliament approve some of the financial arrangements that have been used to fund command agriculture because these are all public resources.  So, if Parliament can also have a look at those financial deals that can improve the thrust of command agriculture.  Indeed, we want agriculture to rebound because we want self food sufficiency but at the same time, we must also improve on the transparency of the scheme.  I also note that the expenditures that went to education and health in the 2016 Budget are too low.  If you look at the magnitude of health problems in this country, you reckon that the health sector on its own needs a $1 billion budget.  The education sector on its own, to deal with the crisis, we need about $1 billion, but what has been allocated to education and health in this 2016 Budget; less than $200 million.  It is too little.

If you look at the health sector, cancer is killing more people than HIV/AIDS.  We need Government to put more cancer screening centres in our hospitals.  People are dying in the rural areas because they cannot access cancer screening and treatment. If you move in the rural areas you will find that there is a tragedy in our public hospitals.  Therefore, $200 million budget in the health sector is just too little.  We need the health sector as well as the education sector to grow to a billion dollars each so that we can take care of the welfare of our people.

Hon. Chinamasa projects that 2017 GDP growth will be 3.7% from 0.7% in 2016.  I think he is being too optimistic.  With the budget deficit that I have talked about; the infrastructure development challenges that I have talked about; I think a projection of 3.7% is too ambitious.  We, on this side of the House would project a GDP growth of 1.9% for 2017 because of the structural constraints that we have highlighted.

Hon. Minister, you seem to be buoyed by fiscal resources that are not sufficient and yet there is an avenue through promoting both domestic and foreign investment to boost our local investment.  I am glad that the Special Economic Zones are now being consummated; maybe there will be an avenue to increase the inflow of foreign financial resources.  That is an avenue because other countries that are surrounding us have Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) levels of between $3 -$5 billion.  That really complements domestic resources.

As long as we shy from addressing issues of attracting FDI, we are not doing ourselves a favour because our budget will remain weak.  Yes, the ease of doing business that is taking place is okay but there is one elephant in the living.  That elephant in the living room is called indigenisation.  The indigenisation policy is not doing us a favour.  In the first place, no indigenisation is taking place.  Secondly, because it is still there and insisting on a 51% threshold, it discourages the inflow of new capital.

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