Government to appoint advisory board

Zimbabwean Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube looks on during the swearing in of new cabinet ministers at State House in Harare, Zimbabwe, September 10, 2018. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

NEW YORK – Government will appoint an international advisory board that will provide a platform for the adoption of best practices, assess and/or adopt emerging trends and explore innovations that advance President Mnangagwa’s Vision 2030, a Cabinet minister has said.

Vision 2030 is President Mnangagwa’s plan to make Zimbabwe an upper middle-income economy by World Bank standards within 12 years.

To this end, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube on Sunday said Government would scour the world for knowledge, innovations and advice via an international advisory board made up of Zimbabweans based in different countries.

Prof Ncube said this in New York in response to a question from the floor during President Mnangagwa’s interaction with Zimbabweans resident in the United States.

He said the countries they were primarily looking to were “China, from Germany, from France, from the UK, from the US and from Africa”.

“So we are looking at a board in the order of maybe 10 people. This is not an unusual path. Pakistan has announced its international advisory board, it was done by the new Prime Minister Imran Khan. Somalia has just set up a board, Somaliland has a board as well.

“Rwanda has a board. In Nigeria there used to be a board, but I’m not so sure now. But this is common practice, we should get the best minds to assist us,” Prof Ncube said.

The Finance Minister also said Government was working on a plan to reduce Government expenditure from around 33 percent of GDP to single digits over the coming three years.

To do this, he said, entailed both containing costs and increasing revenue collections.

In an earlier interview with The Wall Street Journal, Prof Ncube said the planned reforms would hurt, but were necessary for economic turnaround.

“We have to reduce the public sector wage bill and deal with subsidies, but we also have to expand the tax base, increase tax collection efficiencies and ensure compliance with the laws. There is no reform without pain, we are determined to fix this economy within five years,” he said.

Prof Ncube is part of President Mnangagwa’s delegation to the 73rd Ordinary Session of the United Nations General Assembly, along with Reserve Bank Governor Dr John Mangudya and other senior Government officials.

The delegation has since last week been engaged in numerous meetings with key investors and fund managers in line with President Mnangagwa’s “Zimbabwe is open for business” campaign.