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The MDC’s $100 billion economy pledge just does not add up

You know election season is around the corner when political parties start making promises they cannot keep.

The big promise of the 2013 election was ZANU-PF’s discredited claim that it would create 2.2 million jobs and “unlock” $1.8 trillion in new money from its empowerment policy.

 Needless to say, just a year ahead of fresh elections, the economy is in fact bleeding jobs faster than ever and the banks are empty.

Now the MDC-T, the country’s main opposition party, is joining the big promise club.

Tapiwa Mashakada, shadow finance minister for the MDC-T, was quoted recently as saying that an MDC-T government would create a $100 billion economy within a quarter year of taking power in 2018.

“Our economic vision is the creation of a $100 billion economy within the first 100 days on the back of investment and renewal and confidence that will result in the review of the indigenisation policy,” Mashakada said.

This was not the first time the MDC-T has spoken about creating a $100 billion economy.

At different times, the party has however given differing timelines on when this would be achieved.

In a speech on a new party policy to his party’s congress in April 2011, MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai promised annual growth of 10 percent: “Under this new programme, we envision a $100 billion economy by 2030.”

But in its 2013 economic policy, JUICE, the MDC-T projects annual growth of 8%, and a “$100 billion first world economy by 2040”.

At a rally in Gweru early June, Tsvangirai said a $100 billion economy would be built within five years.

The $100 billion dream is not new.

Mashakada himself was part of a group of ministers under the GNU that attended a CEO’s meeting in Nyanga, 2011, where a vision of reaching a $100 billion economy in 2030 was discussed.

The promise of a $100 billion economy is obviously enticing for a voter base that has known only economic decline under ZANU-PF.

However, like most election promises, it does not pass the barest credibility and math checks.

One hopes that the first task of the technocrats that MDC-T has reportedly hired to draw up a new blueprint is to put together a plan that actually passes credibility tests.

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