Zvamaida Murwira and Elita Chikwati, Harare Bureau
ZIMBABWE is poised for a huge economic boom and transformation on the back of practical measures unveiled by the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa to revive the economy, visiting Tanzanian President Dr John Pombe Magufuli has said.
Dr Magufuli said Zimbabwe’s economy had already registered economic growth since President Mnangagwa took over and implored the West to remove illegal sanctions for the country to realise its full potential.
The Tanzanian leader, who is on a two-day official visit, said this last night during a State banquet that was organised for him and his delegation by President Mnangagwa at State House.
“Allow me, Your Excellency, to take this opportunity to commend you and dear brother for the effort you are making to revive the economy and bring about social economic development and transformation in your great country. Indeed since you took over the office of the President Zimbabwe has recorded very important milestone, investment has increased, while fiscal deficit has been reduced. In this respect I am particularly pleased to know that the last economic performance was better than what was expected. I was just reading some of the information, it grew by 3,5 percent and this year it is expected to grow by 4,2 percent and next year it is expected to grow by 4,4 percent. Of course you cannot measure the growth physically, and normally during the transition period people never feel the changes, but I can assure you, Your Excellency, you are doing the best,” said President Magufuli.
“And of course during transformations, especially during the transition period some non-believers are always there, I am sure the message has been sent and delivered. I am sure that if this achievement will be sustained and continued and with the support of the international community Zimbabwe will soon assume its right place.”
Dr Magufuli implored the United States and the European Union to lift sanctions and called for Western ambassadors accredited to Zimbabwe to convey the message to their capitals, that the embargo was hurting ordinary people.
“In this respect I wish to call upon the international community to lift sanctions on Zimbabwe, indeed the country has opened a new chapter and it is ready to engage with the rest of the world. I know I am here with ambassadors and high commissioners this should be the humble request for them because, the effect of this embargo is affecting the poor people, children, women, old men of Zimbabwe but it is also affecting you ambassadors with your families because you are here in Zimbabwe,” he said.
Dr Magufuli said it was high time to transform the two countries’ bilateral relations from political to economical and to that end, he held discussions with President Mnangagwa on how to achieve that.
“I am delighted that this afternoon, President Mnangagwa and myself held discussions about enhancing further these relations. Among the things we discussed and agreed to do better in advancing economic relations. This is because for far too long our relations have been dominated by political issues with little attention being given to economic matters.
“Our two countries have therefore agreed to consolidate our economic cooperation in order to give practical meaning to our political cooperation. To this end we have agreed to increase trade and promote investment flow between us. We have also agreed to share experiences and best practices in the management and utilisation of our natural resources,” he said.
Earlier on President Mnangagwa said during their discussions, President Magufuli had advised him that biometric registration was the best way to deal with the perennial problem of ghost workers.
“I would like to share with you the wisdom I received tonight from His Excellency. We have here (Public Service Commission chairperson) Dr (Vincent) Hungwe, here is the advice, we always hear about ghost workers. In Tanzania they fought the issue of ghost workers.
“They demanded everybody to go through biometric, so if you are a ghost worker you cannot come before a camera. And through that 34 000 ghost workers were in the service and were cleansed out through that method. So Dr Hungwe here is the advice,” said President Mnangagwa.
He commended Tanzania for being the first country that came forward to assist Zimbabwe when it was ravaged by Cyclone Idai in March this year which saw more than 300 people dead, others displaced and a trail of destruction of property.
Dr Magufuli was welcomed at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport by President Mnangagwa, Vice President Kembo Mohadi, several Cabinet Ministers, service chiefs diplomats accredited to Zimbabwe and senior Government officials.
He was also accompanied by Mr Makongoro Nyerere, son to Tanzania’s founding president Julius Mwalimu Nyerere.
Soon after arrival, President Magufuli inspected the guard of honour and later attended dinner at the State House