THIS year’s national targets are set to be met as the country’s national economic performance is expected to remain strong on the back of an improved agricultural season, a stable macroeconomic environment and proactive Covid-19 pandemic national interventions.
Yesterday, Cabinet received and adopted the Mid-Year Performance Review of the National Development Strategy 1: 2021-2025, (NDS1), which was presented by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development Professor Mthuli Ncube.
The Mid-Year Report is the second report after the First Quarter Report presented in May 2021 and it covers the 14 national priority areas of the NDS1, and is a critical component of the strategy’s monitoring and evaluation framework.
In a post Cabinet briefing yesterday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said in the event that the current growth trajectory is sustained, there is a high probability that respective Ministries, departments and agencies, and NDS 1 thematic working groups will be able to meet their targets for this year.
“Cabinet wishes to advise the nation that in spite of the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, national economic performance is expected to remain strong, on the back of an improved 2020/2021 agricultural season, higher international mineral commodity prices, and a stable macroeconomic environment and proactive Covid-19 pandemic national interventions,” she said.
“Projections are therefore that, if the current growth trajectory is sustained, there is a high probability that the respective Ministries, Departments and Agencies, and NDS 1 Thematic Working Groups will be able to meet their national targets for 2021.”
A synopsis of the performance review indicates that, under the Economic Growth and Stability pillar, the GDP growth rate for 2021 has been revised upwards from the initial projection of 7,4 percent to 7,8 percent budget surpluses were recorded in both the first and second quarters, with revenue performance above targets, while expenditure slightly exceeded the projected target. The declining trend in inflation was also sustained during the second quarter, with quarterly inflation averaging 149 percent against the targeted 228 percent.
The Minister said other highlights include the following: in terms of Moving the Economy Up the Value-Chain and Structural Transformation focus area, an increase of capacity utilisation rates from 47 percent in 2020 to 56 percent was registered; under the Infrastructure and Utilities pillar, remarkable progress was registered in road infrastructure rehabilitation under the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme 2 (ERRP 2); In the Image Building, International Engagement and Re-engagement pillar, two community radio stations were operationalised, 76 percent national radio coverage was achieved and all the targeted awareness campaigns were aired on the major media platforms.
Under the Human Capital Development and Innovation pillar, eight innovation hubs, one science park and four industrial parks were established during the first half of 2021, with the Verify Engineering Medical Oxygen and Nitrogen Gases Plant having been completed and commissioned.
Under the Health and Wellbeing focus area, the national vaccination programme was successfully rolled out, while the Radiotherapy Centre at Mpilo Hospital was resuscitated, and the Solar for Health Programme to benefit 70 clinics in line with Government’s drive towards adoption of Clean Energy, was also undertaken.
Minister Mutsvangwa said the number of people in need of hospitalisation due to Covid-19 continues to decline.
She said as of Monday, 3 051 371 people had received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine and 2 211 880 their second across the country, translating to a national coverage of 35,7 percent for the first dose and 25,8 percent for the second dose.
Zimbabwe achieved the three million vaccination milestone for the first dose on September 23. Minister Mutsvangwa said China made yet another donation of 500 000 doses of Sinovac vaccine last Thursday, adding that the total number of vaccine doses sourced since the roll-out of the vaccination programme is 12 300 000, the bulk of which were procured through treasury.
In terms of health workers, the Minister said Cabinet resolved that going forward, Government had directed that there be a complete absorption of health professionals from all urban local authorities starting with Chitungwiza followed by Harare and then moving on to the remaining local authorities.
Instead of transferring just nurses, Government will transfer all health workers in urban local authorities to the Government payroll under the Ministry of Health and Child Care.
On schools, Minister Mutsvangwa said: “The nation is informed that Cabinet directed that half term breaks be prohibited in order to help learners catch up on time already lost during the lockdown and this will also strengthen Covid-19 containment measures.”