Felex Share and Tendai Mugabe, Harare Bureau
NEW Cabinet Ministers sworn-in yesterday pledged to bring about sweeping changes in Government and ensure Zimbabwe becomes a middle income economy by 2030.
The 20 Cabinet Ministers — who took oath of office before President Mnangagwa at State House in Harare — said it was now time for transformation in all sectors of the economy to improve the lives of the people.
Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube said focus would be on ending the cash shortages, clearing international debt arrears and building credit lines.
“I will be rolling out a plan on arrears clearance,” he said.
“Coupled with that is building credit lines globally. Internally, it is about fiscal consolidation and making sure that on the expenditure side we live within our means or move towards that. It is a process, not a big bang approach. On revenue collection, we need to strengthen our tax collection systems to restore fiscal balance.
“On the monetary policy front, the idea is to make sure that monetary policy and fiscal policy complement each other. One is not an albatross by substitute for the other. Monetary reforms will be looked into with urgency and ultimately we would like to have a Zimbabwe dollar that is stable, that we have confidence in and you will hear in the monetary policy the first steps towards achieving that.”
He went on: “The issue of currency reform will be underway but that alone is not adequate. It needs a second leg; it works with fiscal policy. So fiscal reforms together with currency reforms have to work together to create the stability.”
Prof Mthuli also spoke about cash shortages.
“This is a symptom of the poor macro-economic picture on the fiscal front and monetary front. One has to look at the holistic picture to deal with it but clearly there will be steps I am going to take.”
Defence and War Veterans Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri said her Ministry would provide the peace required for investment to flourish.
“Defence plays a critical role in the development of any given country,” said Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri.
“You protect the peace of the country in totality, making sure the people and resources are protected. Any investor that wants to do business will look at the peace existing.”
She said her powers were delegated.
“The powers lie in the Commander-in-Chief (President Mnangagwa) and it means I will be working closely with him,” she said.
“As for most of these commanders in the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, we shared the trenches and this means I am not going into a new area totally.”
Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Minister Kirsty Coventry said: “I want to bring in youths, sports and arts people to better understand their actual needs and challenges.
“They are a vital piece of the puzzle and I want to ensure they are being thought of and know that they will be heard. They will also help come up with a plan. I want open dialogue with all the pillars that I will represent. Through dialogue we can take sport to the international level and create more jobs.”
She said contrary to social media reports, President Mnangagwa consulted her first before the appointment.
Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo said changes would sweep across the health sector.
“We want to see the system getting modernised, being affordable and accessible,” he said.
“I have landed this position at a time there is cholera. I cannot run away from control of cholera. We need to improve the drug supply chain and ensure that our staff is well looked after.”
Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Prisca Mupfumira said marketing Zimbabwe aggressively was a key priority.
“We want to ensure tourism becomes the second important pillar for our economy. Signs are there; we have engaged and we continue marketing aggressively tourist destinations in Zimbabwe.”
Industry and Commerce Minister Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu said focus would be on resuscitating industries and creating new ones.
“We have to get together captains of industry and Government and we have to agree on how best to resolve whatever is happening,” he said.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said focus would be on rebranding Zimbabwe.
Press freedom, she said, would be guaranteed while airwaves would be opened.
“Journalism as a Fourth Estate is a very important institution and we need to see that it is professional, well respected and paid,” she said.
“We also have to look at the equipment and studios we are using if they are up to standard.”
Energy and Power Development Minister Joram Gumbo said:
“For vision 2030 to be a success, fuel and power are vital. So my focus will be on ensuring these are available always.”
Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando said his ministry would work hard to “unveil a vision which supports the President’s overall 2030 vision.”
Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Joel Biggie Matiza said corruption and lack of transparency bedevilling the Ministry had to go.
“I will take over from my predecessor, see what he has done and continue with the process,” he said.
Information Communication Technology and Courier Services Minister Kazembe Kazembe said ICT was central in the development of any nation.
“It is a new portfolio but I will put my all to ensure the President’s vision is achieved through ICT,” he said.
Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Minister Perrance Shiri said his portfolio was the mainstay of the economy.
“It contributes immensely to GDP,” he said. “We are much aware that we used to be a bread basket for the region.
“We lost that status for reasons known but we have to reclaim that status within the shortest possible time.
“We want to be able to produce enough of everything we consume and enough surplus for export to earn the much needed foreign currency.”
Dr Sekai Nzenza, who heads the Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Ministry said: “One needs to understand the role, listen and build a team then develop a vision based on having listened to my various departments and stakeholders.
“What I am bringing in are years of experience in the welfare and governance sectors. I have worked in senior management in the United States and Australia and I am now putting that experience into action.”
Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Prof Amon Murwira said:
“For the education system to work, first of all you must have students inside. Second you must have good programme infrastructure. A combination of these will result in a higher and tertiary education system which enables us to meet the objectives of a middle income economy.
“Economy is built on knowledge and the time we take knowledge seriously, is the time we start to rise.”