By Alois Vinga
ECONOMISTS have urged authorities to secure realistic sources of financing, citizens buy-in as well as set practical targets ahead of the implementation of new government economic blueprint, National Development Strategy 1 (NDS) policy.
Launched a fortnight ago, NDS1 is expected to run between 2021 and 2025 with a thrust to aligning the national economy on a growth trajectory.
It succeeds the Transitional Stabilisation Programme which was set to run from 2018 to 2020.
Speaking on NewZim TV’s Economic Insights programme recently, economist and academic Prosper Chitambara highlighted the need to secure realistic sources of finance to see to the fruition of the policy.
“A critical issue that needs to be answered is exactly how we can pull domestic resources to finance the envisaged development priorities.
“Sectors such as education and health have tended to rely on external partners through donor funding and most policies have failed on the area of sustainable financing.
“So, without a clear financing framework, the policy may fail,” he said.
He said discipline with respect to public financial management remained key if the country were to achieve the desired results.
The top economist said there was also need to inculcate a savings culture among locals as this would help create sources of domestic resources which could then be harnessed to finance the various capital expenditures and development based projects under the NDS.
“Every citizen needs to rally behind the policy because unity of purpose is important and there is also a need to set realistic target,” he said.
“The policy is being rolled out on the basis of the TSP. However, you will note that the growth projections at 6.3 % set for 2018, 9 % for 2019 and 9.7 % for 2020 under the past policy were missed.”
Also speaking during the programme, economist Persistence Gwanyanya said there must be measures taken to sustain the stability achieved so far in the economy.
He said development itself needed to be financed through stable sources which excluded development from excessive budget deficits.
“This is more important especially now when the country cannot live as a going concern because our external relations are not good enough to attract investable capital. As we go into the development phase, there is need to finance that growth,” he said.
Under the NDS1, possible financing options include fiscal revenues, loans, grants, public entities own resources and private sector resources including Public Private Partnerships (PPPs), Foreign Direct Investment and Diaspora investments.
“Further, a compendium of duly costed, high impact program and projects, with clear sources of funding will be implemented during the Strategy Period as will be outlined in the NDS1 Programmes and Projects Investment Plan,” reads the policy document in part.