What Mashakada said in Parliament about reviving the economy


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The Herald was last week all over the Movement for Democratic Change-Tsvangirai saying it had privately endorsed President Robert Mugabe’s 10-point plan to revive the economy.

President Mugabe announced the 10-point plan in his State of the Nation address on  25 August which was largely criticised by the opposition and the private media for failing to address key issues that are currently affecting the nation.

The Herald quoted a senior MDC-T official, Tapiwa Mashakada, the Member of Parliament for Hatfield and the party’s parliamentary spokesman on Economic Affairs, as saying that the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front was good at stealing MDC ideas.

It quoted Mashakada as saying on an MDC-T whats app group: “ZANU-PF is good at stealing MDC ideas and run with them as if theirs. ZANU-PF is good at hijacking things. You will all recall that in June I moved a motion in Parliament on the state of the economy. During my debate a ZANU-PF MP wept uncontrollably. The major theme of my motion was about Economic Growth and how ZANU-PF had stifled it. I pointed the fact that the 7.8 percent Zim-Asset growth target was a pie in the sky. In 2015 the economy will only register 1.2 percent growth. I told Parliament that ZANU-PF policies had choked Growth in Mining, Agriculture, Manufacturing…..”

Mashakada actually introduced the motion on 8 July.

Here is what he said:

 

PEOPLE-CENTRED DEVELOPMENTAL POLICIES AND MEASURES ON IMPROVING DOMESTIC PRODUCTION AND FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT

DR. MASHAKADA: Madam Speaker I move the motion standing in my name that this House:

CONCERNED by the deterioration in the social and economic conditions in the country which is a direct consequence of economic melt-down, lack of market confidence, corruption and poor revenue inflows from taxes and the mineral sector;

NOTING that there are no immediate signs of economic recovery contrary to the objectives of ZIM ASSET;

WORRIED about the looming food shortage in the country as a result of poor agricultural performance and the limited resources to import maize and other cereals;

ALARMED by the number of companies that are closing and retrenching employees almost on a daily basis thereby increasing the rate of unemployment;

FURTHER ALARMED by the collapse of the formal sector and its substitution by street vending and informal trading;

NOW, THEREFORE, calls upon Government to start dialogue with all national stakeholders and the international community and come up with people centered development policies and effective measures to:

(a) Stop corruption and foster inclusive economic growth which is, inter alia, underpinned by the mobilization of domestic resources;

(b) Increase domestic production;

(c) Improve domestic and foreign direct investment; and

(d) Prepare a sustainable debt management strategy.

MR. MARIDADI: I second.

DR. MASHAKADA: Good afternoon Madam Speaker. As I stand before you this afternoon, I want to remind this House that we only have one country and it is called Zimbabwe. We must be patriotic and it means we must love our country and make sure that the country is able to look after its citizens. We must look after our economy because it is not there just for us here; it is there for the posterity, our children and for the next posterity. Therefore, we have got a heavy responsibility as a generation across the political divide to make sure that our economy is looked after.

THE ACTING SPEAKER: Hon. Mupfumi, please behave in the House.

DR. MASHAKADA: Madam Speaker, the people who have elected us want us to discuss the socio-economic problems that they are facing on a day to day basis. They want us to come up with long lasting solutions to our economic hardships.

Madam Speaker, some of the hon. members here might be sitting comfortably in this House. They might be happy that they are privileged to be in this House, driving Ford Rangers or Mercedes Benz but the ordinary man and woman in the street is suffering.

MR. NYANHONGO: On a point of order! I am very much surprised to hear the hon. member talking about the socio-economic problems that our people are facing, yet it is from that side that – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]- That have caused the economic hardships of this country. They were caused and created by those on that side, so they should not talk about it.

THE ACTING SPEAKER: Order, order hon. members. Hon. Musundire and Hon. Chinotimba order!

THE ACTING SPEAKER: Hon. Nyanhongo, there is no point of order. From what you have said, there is no point of order. You were just deliberating. So, Dr. Mashakada, you may continue with your debate.

DR. MASHAKADA: Madam Speaker, the ordinary tax payer is looking for leadership. They are looking up to us to provide solutions to their day to day economic problems. Madam Speaker, as I am talking to you, the suffering that is visiting our people is of gigantic proportions.

People are going without meals and there is this talk that people are now doing zero, zero, one, which means no breakfast, no lunch, but only have dinner. This is happening in this country. Children are dropping out of school because their parents cannot afford to pay school fees. The situation in our hospitals is critical. There is a critical food crisis in this country and we cannot afford to be casual about the economic crisis that we are confronting as Zimbabwe.

Madam Speaker, I just want us to begin by analysing the reason why we are where we are, what has led us to be where we are and what are the fundamental problems affecting Zimbabwe as an economy? If we do not appreciate the magnitude of the macro economic problems that we are facing, we cannot come up with a solution. We cannot come up with long lasting and sustainable solutions.

The first critical thing we are facing in this country is that the economy is not growing. We can try all sorts of policies but the bottom line remains that we need growth in the economy. If the cake is not growing, we cannot share it. Workers cannot get enough income, employers cannot get profits, and Government cannot deliver public services because growth is declining.

Madam Speaker, you reckon that between 2009 and 2013, our economy grew by an average of 7.5% but to date, our economy is now growing at between 3 and 3.5% because our productive sectors are not performing very well. So, we need growth in this economy and we need to come up with policies that foster growth so that we can alleviate the problems and hardships that we are facing but I just want to address why we have not had growth in the past three or four years.

The first problem is that our national servings as a country has collapsed. We are living from hand to mouth, whether it is the private sector, Government or individuals. The level of national savings has declined to 5% of GDP, yet the benchmark for savings that can be mobilised for national development all over the world is 30% of GDP. Imagine the decline from 30% to 5% of GDP savings. It means we do not have the critical mass of bankable resources that can be used for on-lending to individuals, private sector and Government. Without sustainable savings, our growth will falter.

The other problem that is compromising our growth is that expenditure is very low in the economy. Government is not spending because it has no capacity. The revenues are very low, so Government is not spending. Individuals are not spending because aggregate demand is low. Firms are not spending because of the liquidity crisis. So without visible expenditure from Government, companies and individuals, how do you generate economic activity? Where do you get growth in the economy? That is a problem affecting our growth as a country.

The other problem affecting growth as a country is lack of investment. Investment levels have dwindled to very critical low levels in this country. If you compare Zimbabwe with other SADC countries, we are receiving investment to the tune of $500 000 000 a year whereas other countries are now receiving investment levels of $1, $2 billion and so forth. Without investment we cannot talk of sustainable growth because we are choked of capital that is required to grow the economy.

The other problem is that while we do not have growth, our productive sectors are not doing well. We can talk of agriculture, manufacturing, mining and the commercial sector, they are all not performing well and that is compromising our growth. I am just touching on growth as a critical factor for us to move out of this economic quagmire.

I have talked about production as a critical factor which is an albatross for growth. One of the sectors that have suffered from low production is the manufacturing sector. Zimbabwe held a SADC summit just recently, I think two or three months ago. The theme of the summit was industrialisation which means that SADC and Africa as a whole, emphasised the theme of industrialisation but in the case of Zimbabwe, our situation is very bad. I will tell you that in the year 2000, our employment level was two million people. Around 1998, 1999 to 2000, the formal sector employed about two million people. By 2009, employment had declined to 900 000 people because no new jobs were created.

As I stand here Madam Speaker, we have de-industrialised to an extent that the total labour force in the formal sector is only around 700 000 people employed in the whole country. Yesterday, the Portfolio Committee on Industry and Commerce visited factories and one shocking example was the textile sector. They were told that at its peak, the textile sector employed 54 000 people but as of now, they are now employing 3 000. Just look at the level of decline in just one sector. I have not touched the clothing, transport and other sectors. We have gone through massive de-industrialisation as a country.

The effects of de-industrialisation are there for us to see. One of the most manifest effects of de-industrialisation is the vending that we are all battling to control. Remember when an economy collapses, it goes into phases. The first phase, the economy moves itself from formal to informal. The informal sector is what we are all familiar with and it is better because you can regulate, incentivise or you can try to make it more formal. But when you go beyond the informal sector, it becomes a street economy. Vending becomes the order of the day. Those are signs of de-industrialisation.

The problem with vending is that the moment you try to control it, you actually multiply the problem. Somebody said vending can be compared to the hyper-inflation years when we removed the zeros and the following week, you got more zeros than you had removed – [Laughter] – That is the problem and that is the reality. Vending is a problem that we have to deal with but it is not their problem because there are no jobs. So people have to come into the streets to look for money for food, education and hospital bills because the industry has closed – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

Madam Speaker, our industrial areas are now museums.

THE ACTING SPEAKER: Order hon. members on my left side. You are always speaking and you are disturbing him. Let the hon. member be heard in silence.

DR. MASHAKADA: Our industrial areas are now like museums. If you go to the heavy industrial sites, like the Coventry area here in Harare, you find that people are now selling sadza from factory warehouses. In Bulawayo, some of the industries are now being used by churches as places of worship. Gweru, Mutare and so on, have de-industrialised. As legislators, we have to come up with solutions on how we can turn around our economy because we have got only one country to live in and that is Zimbabwe.

Madam Speaker, linked to industrialization is the question of unemployment. The level of unemployment in this country is shocking. I am surprised when we get figures to the effect that unemployment is 12%. I ask where these economists live. How can you talk of 12% level of unemployment in this country? We have got graduates coming out of our tertiary institutions; some of them are selling airtime and some working as petrol attendants. You will be lucky because at least you have got a job but you talk of engineers, accountants and economists, jobless. The other problem of de-industrialisation is the worsening balance of payments position…

THE ACTING SPEAKER: Hon. Mashakada, please speak to the Chair.

DR. MASHAKADA: Madam Speaker, the balance of payments is the ratio between imports and exports. Because of de-industrialisation, we are not producing anything – we have become a supermarket economy. The level of exports to imports is shocking –[AN HON. MEMBER: Tuck-shop economy]- My colleague is saying a tuck-shop economy. We are now importing almost everything. We are importing goods and services to the tune of US$8 billion and we are only exporting about US$3 billion worth of goods.

Therefore, there is a wide margin between your exports and your imports just because we are not producing. If you look at capacity utilisation in the manufacturing sector, most firms are operating with excess capacity. The capacity utilisation is now around 35%. It is even alleged that even blue chip companies like Econet are actually retrenching and they have cut wages by 35%. Telecel is also cutting wages …

*MS. R. MPOFU: On a point of order, the hon. member has forgotten that the British imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe so that the country would collapse. Secondly, if they are aware that they are not the ones who are supporting the British, why is it that they are not calling for the removal of sanctions in Zimbabwe? Thirdly, -[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]- I have not finished.

THE ACTING SPEAKER: Order! Order!

*MS. R. MPOFU: I have not finished Madam Speaker -[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-

THE ACTING SPEAKER: Order! Order hon. members! Order! Hon. members order! Hon. Mpofu, when the time comes, I will give you an opportunity to debate the motion. So there is no point of order right now but I will give you the time to debate your points. Hon. Mashakada you may continue-[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-

THE ACTING SPEAKER: Order! Order! Order! Hon. members order! Your points of orders should be related to the Standing Rules and Orders. If you want to state your point of order may you start by stating the rules in the book -[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear]-

MR. NYANHONGO: We now have a sizeable number of ministers here, can we now pose questions without notice.-[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-

THE ACTING SPEAKER: Order! Order hon. members! Can Hon. Nyanhongo repeat his point of order?

MR. NYANHONGO: I am just saying, we now have a good size of Cabinet ministers here, maybe we should now pose questions without notice -[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]- we have a lot of questions that we would like to ask Cabinet ministers –[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear]-

THE ACTING SPEAKER: Order! Order hon. members on my left side! Order hon. members! I will accept the point of order raised by Hon. Nyanhongo after Hon. Mashakada finishes debating his motion.

MS. ZINDI: On a point of order, I am rising to bring to your attention that Hon. Mpofu has just broke down as a result of the motion being debated….-[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-

THE ACTING SPEAKER: Order hon. members! Hon. Mutseyami! Order hon. members, I will not hesitate to exercise my authority in this House. ….-[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]- Order hon. members! Hon. members order! I have given Hon. Zindi the floor.

MS. ZINDI: As I said, my point of order as our Speaker, I would like to bring to your attention that Hon. Mpofu –[AN. HON. MEMBER: Which section?] just broke down as a result of the motion by Hon. Mashakada ….-[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-

THE ACTING SPEAKER: Order! Order hon. members! Hon. members order! Let her finish ….-[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]- hon. members on my right side! Hon. Chibaya! Hon. members, may you allow the hon. member to state her case then I will give a ruling.

MS. ZINDI: Thank you Madam Speaker for your protection – and also to ask Hon. Chibaya to withdraw his statement referring to the statement that Hon. Mpofu broke down as a result of a demon-[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-

THE ACTING SPEAKER: Order hon. members! Order hon. members! It is very touching that someone has broken down because of the debate that is going on -[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]- we are very sorry. Order hon. member on my right! We are very sorry about that but we are going to allow Hon. Mashakada to continue with the debate –[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear]-

Order, order hon. members! Order! Order! On a second note, Hon. Chibaya; it is very wrong and unparliamentary to use such language. May you please withdraw what you said.

MR. NYANHONGO: Thank you very much Madam Speaker. I did not say such words. Thank you very much.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: On the issue raised, I will check with the notes and then I will give a ruling on it.

MS. ZINDI: On a point of order Madam Speaker –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] -.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order! Hon. members. Order hon. members on my right. Order Hon. Zindi. At this juncture I will not allow any point of order.

MR. NDUNA: On a point of order Madam Speaker. I think it is very important. Allow me to speak Madam Speaker – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] -.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Nduna, order. I will not hesitate to give another ruling if you do not obey the rules of the House.

MR. NDUNA: Madam Speaker I think I need to say something…–[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] -.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Could you please escort Hon. Nduna out of the House.

MR. NDUNA was consequently escorted out of the House by the Sergeant-At-Arm –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] -.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order hon. members from my left side. Hon. members on my right side, order.

MR. MASHAKADA: Madam Speaker we cannot afford to be lackadaisical about the problems that our country is facing. Let us concentrate and really come up with solutions. I was talking about the gap between imports and exports as only a symptom showing that our economy is not in a productive mode therefore, we have been reduced to a supermarket economy. We are importing almost everything from South Africa and that is not healthy. We have to take corrective measures and recommend to the Executive not to relent but keep on putting measures like controlling dumping of foreign products. We need to protect our companies from unfair competition from cheap products and so on.

Madam Speaker, the impact of deindustrialisation is that we are losing a lot of our fixed capital stock. It is not easy to build industries and allow them to collapse while we watch. If you look at the state of the NRZ, ZISCO and CSC for example, all that capital that has been invested is now going to waste. There is a lot of depreciation and devaluation of fixed capital formation and it is not easy to rebuild those companies. If you go to ZISCO Steel, the level of decay is really worrying and it will take a long period to rebuild the capital stock that we had put in place.

I am aware that companies cannot grow because to the liquidity crunch. I am aware that Government started ZETRAF, DIMAF and all other initiatives, but these have not been able to turn around the companies as Government had wished and we still remain with that challenge. I have talked about deindustrialisation as a problem that manifests itself as causing low growth.

The other area related to growth has to do with the agricultural sector. This economy is agro based. If there is no growth in agriculture everything grinds to a halt because all industries and other sectors there is a direct supply chain or value chain with agriculture, so we have to make sure that our farmers grow, are supported and capacitated so that they can feed the nation. As I am talking to you right now the Strategic Grain Reserve should be maintained at 500 000 metric tonnes. We were talking to the GMB in our Committee, only to learn that the level of Strategic Grain Reserve has gone down to 118 000 metric tonnes instead of 500 000 metric tonnes. This is what we must worry about about as Members of Parliament because food security is important. We cannot represent hungry people.

The other problem affecting agriculture is that there has been an influx of contractors. These contractors are taking our farmers for a ride. They are paying low prices to farmers, be it in the tobacco or cotton sector. Our farmers are being exploited by these contractors and that is affecting productivity. Madam Speaker, even in the just ended tobacco marketing season some farmers were being offered prices for a bail of tobacco as low as R2. We have got farmers here, they can attest to that. That is not logical. We have to support our farmers through irrigation, livestock development.

The other problem is that in agriculture we have to appreciate the impact of climate change. Climate change is affecting agricultural production in this country because our farmers need training on climate change so that they know when to plant because the weather patterns have really changed. This country needs to import food. We have a serious food deficit. The country needs to import between 400 000 metric tonnes to 500 000 metric tonnes to feed the nation.

I go on to mining. The problem affecting our mining sector is lack of capital. In order for our mining sector to recover they need at least US$3 billion to rise to the 1998 levels. So the mining sector is affected by lack of capital. The other challenge is beneficiation. We continue to produce, but we are not beneficiating our mining products. Right now Government has removed the ban on the export of chrome, but it is saddening because we know that a lot of our people depend on chrome production. As a strategy we cannot continue to export raw chrome forever, we have to put a time frame by which chrome companies establish smelting plants.

The other problem with the mining sector is a question of revenue. Most countries in Africa which are endowed with mineral resources are benefiting from royalties and other mining revenues. In the case of Zimbabwe, we have not yet enjoyed the full benefits of discovery of diamonds and other minerals. Our artisanal miners still do not have enough equipment. They are producing under unsafe conditions and yet artisanal miners especially in gold, contribute a lot to production in that sector.

Madam Speaker, I now go to touch on what I call the fiscal policy crisis and this is very important, the fiscal policy crisis that our country is going through. We have experienced macro-economic instability in the past and everybody knows that the macro-economic instability that we experienced was characterised by hyper inflation. You would put your money in the wheel barrow and put what you buy in the pocket. That is a sign of hyper inflation. Now we have a different king of crisis. It is no longer hyper.

The new crisis that we are suffering from is what we call fiscal policy crisis. Fiscal policy crisis means that the instruments of fiscal policy revenue generation, we have a challenge. The State does not have enough revenue streams to go into the consolidated revenue funds. It is a fiscal policy crisis. The other fiscal policy crisis is that, because of the lack sustainable revenue, lack of fiscal space, we cannot fund all our expenditure as a Government. From both an expenditure and revenue point view, you have got a fiscal crisis.

So far Government has borrowed from the domestic money market to the tune of a US$1 billion. That is a deficit because how will Government fund that US$1 billion that they borrowed from the domestic market through Treasury Bills, Institutional Arrangement with NSSA and other companies. This debt creates a hole in the fiscus and it will still need to be financed. That is the fiscal policy crisis I am talking about.

The other problem is that of debt sustainability. Last week the Minister of Finance and Economic Development introduced a Public Debt Management Bill to try to manage and contain the levels of indebtedness but if we do not resolve the debt crisis, it means we cannot have access to new money and international finance capital because we will still be owing all that money.

The other problem we are facing in this country is that a country is managed by a lot of policy instruments. You need monetary policy to manage the economic, you need official development assistance or ODA to manage your economy, you need multilateral lending and bilateral assistance to manage your economy but we are only standing on leg of macro-economic policy which is fiscal policy. That is making our economy very difficult to manage. We cannot resolve the fiscal space.

I come to corruption as a cancer affecting the economy. Madam Speaker, if you read the report of the Auditor-General, you get concerned by the level of decadence in the management of public finances. All is not well in the management of public finances. There is fraud, corruption, under utilization of resources, improper management of public asserts and so on. Corruption is a cancer which we have to confront head-on as a society, and as a country. There is one classical case, in the first quarter of the year we had a Government delegation going to China to negotiate mega deals. When the Chinese delegation was sent by their Government to follow up on the implementation of the mega deal, they were deported at the airport. Our institutions have to be serious.

We have a problem of infrastructure and one of our perennial problems is the energy crisis that this country is going through. We all know that in the sub region, in the Southern African Power Pool we are suffering from energy deficit but in the case of Zimbabwe we have issued licences to new investors to produce electricity using coal. We have issued prospecting orders for coal deposits in Hwange and Gokwe five years ago but these investors are still not doing anything to invest in power generations. I come to sanctions…

MR. HOLDER: My point of order is in the Standing Rules Orders Number 60, limitation of speech. I think 20 minutes have already passed.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order hon. members. I would like to take this opportunity to educate the House that those who present motions in the House are not restricted to time. Thank you.

DR. MASHAKADA: Madam Speaker, I now come to sanctions. Zimbabwe is a sovereign country. We have to take charge of our destiny and our affairs as a country. We cannot continue to mourn and groan about something that has already taken place. Let us take charge of our country. How have other countries managed to overcome the challenges of sanctions. How did Smith under Rhodesian sanctions manage to build a robust manufacturing sector? Big companies like ZECO established during sanctions, ZISCO Steel, Hwange Power Station, let us think outside the box as Zimbabwe and be revolutionary. We cannot continue to mourn about these things because we have a country to run and manage. In any case Madam Speaker, those western countries, as long as we owe them money by way of debt, they will not even give us a penny, because they will still say you owe us so much, settle your arrears, settle your debts. It is high time we leverage our own natural resources and human capital to make sure that we overcome whatever challenge that we are facing as a country.

Madam Speaker I come to ZIM ASSET, it promised 2.2 million jobs and it promised a growth rate of 7.2% of GDP but clearly you can see that these targets have been ostensibly missed. What is the problem? The problem is that of funding, a plan is as good as funding behind that plan. You can have a wonderful plan but without the requisite resources that plan remains academic. The other challenge with ZIM ASSET is that we have got a plan there but in reality we are managing this economy through the budget. The budget has replaced the plan as an instrument of macroeconomic management. So, it does not matter how many plans you can have, as long as you do not articulate your budget but in terms of your plan, you are not going anywhere.

Our budget is committing 90% of resources to recurrent expenditure, leaving just 10% for capital projects and there is no way you can say you can execute ZIM ASSET with that kind of structure of a budget. So, there is a challenge there, the relationship between the budget and the ZIM ASSET has to be revisited.

The other problem is that in development terms, you need a plan then you need a vision, then your budget is a rolling plan for executing your targets, but right now we do not have an agreed national vision as a country. I am happy that we have got a Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning once more that has been reinstated; they must come up with a consultative framework so that this country develops a national vision so that we can have a head way and a target with a trajectory which can be followed by our plans and budgets.

Madam Speaker, the other problem we have in this country has to do with policy or policies. If for once we were going to have that growth and so on, we need the right policy mix to make sure that our policies translate into development benefits for the poor. The ordinary people feel the impact of policy or Government policy. Investors feel the positive impact of policy, the highlights of our policies from investors’ point of view is that our policies are unclear, ambiguous and they are not consistent. We have to address that policy gap, we have to make sure that our policies are consistent and they are clear so that we do not just change course along the way.

The other problem we have to focus on is the pricing model in this country and again it is under the ambit of policies. People might say we do not have inflation in this country, yes because you will be looking at food inflation. When you talk of other baskets that comprise the consumer price index, you find that there is latent inflation; for example, how can you have a private school in Zimbabwe charging US$8 000 per term; that is latent inflation. If you look at the housing market, we have got houses costing a million dollars in this little economy. We have rental accommodation costing US$250 a room that is inflation. So, when we talk of inflation, you are not only talking about food inflation which is negative at the present moment. Let us talk about the holistic specter of inflation in this country. I put it to you that there is latent inflation in this country and that people are adopting inflationary pricing models especially in services and utilities and that is an area which touches the livelihoods of the people. Government must do something to make sure that service sector inflation is nipped in the bud because people are suffering.

Madam Speaker, at the end of the day, we have got a crisis of incomes, I have talked about crisis for prices but we have got a crisis of incomes. Zimbabweans, 80% of them, I am talking of the rural area, are living on less than a dollar per week not a day. That is a crisis of incomes. The UNDP talks about poverty as a situation whereby a person lives on less than a dollar a day that the UN benchmark, I am talking about less than a dollar per week. Our people are suffering from excruciating poverty. Most companies are in arrears, six months wage arrears, people go to work six months you are not paid especially parastatals. How are these people surviving when they are going to work and they are not paid?

THE ACTING SPEAKER: Order. Hon. Mashakada, speak to the Chair

DR. MASHAKADA: At the end of the day, I have said we have only one country, one Zimbabwe, let us focus our minds on the economy. Let us lower the volume on politics and put more attention on the economy. When all is said Madam Speaker, the motion is calling upon Government to initiate dialogue with all stakeholders including Member of Parliament. Dialogue with the private sector, dialogue with civil society and put Zimbabwe first so that we can resolve our macro economic difficulties.

Madam Speaker, as I am talking to you now the burden that is weighing heavily on Government is unthinkable. Government is broke, Government insolvent, if it was a private company it could have been liquidated. Government owes everybody monies and that is affecting the fabric of the whole economy. So at the end of the day, we still talk politics but in this generation, we want bread on the table, that is what the people are concerned about; bread and butter on the table. You can win an election but you can fail to deliver. Winning an election is a social contract with the people.

Madam Speaker, I am appealing to this House that we put our heads together and resolve the macro-economic problems. Thank you.

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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