Mugabe’s State of the Nation Address in full

President Robert Mugabe today thanked Zimbabweans for enduring all manner of economic hardship and commended them for their resilience.

In his State of the Nation Address, Mugabe also urged Zimbabweans to cherish the peace and tranquility that continues to be the envy of many.

“Let us continue to find national pride in our core values of unity, hard work and freedom,” he said. “But lest we forget, let us pray to the Almighty to graciously open the heavens for more rain this season!”

Below is Mugabe’s address in full.

STATE OF THE NATION ADRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT

HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT:

Madame President of the Senate,

Mr Speaker Sir,

Honourable Members of Parliament,

Invited Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Comrades and Friends.

Once again, it gives me great pleasure to address this august House, this time as I make this year’s State of the Nation Address.

Madame President, Mr Speaker Sir,

In line with ZIM ASSET and the Ten Point Plan, Government has introduced several measures to promote local content requirements across all the sectors of the economy, especially in agro-processing, mining, manufacturing, construction and tourism.  Our major objective is to increase local capacity, create a skilled work force, and become a competitive supplier base.

The recently gazetted Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016 has already started to bear fruit by improving the efficient use of foreign exchange, and in enhancing local production, thereby reducing import dependence.  A number of local companies in the plastics, packaging and food manufacturing sector, that include Tregers, Nampak, Proplastics and several others have been the immediate beneficiaries of Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016.

Madame President, Mr Speaker Sir,

Acceleration of the implementation of policy reforms is supported by Government’s policy actions in revitalising agriculture, infrastructure development, unlocking the potential of small to medium enterprises (SMEs), encouraging private sector investments, fostering financial sector stability, and through the observance of zero tolerance to corruption.  The reforms are meant to both rejuvenate the national economy and contribute to poverty reduction.

Madame President, Mr Speaker Sir,

My Government is importing grain in order to address the grain deficit caused by the devastating effects of the recent drought.  To date, Government has imported over 300 000 metric tonnes of maize, whilst about 200 000 metric tonnes have been delivered to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) depots by our farmers.  Meanwhile, the private sector has also supported Government by importing 25 000 metric tonnes.  Add to this the amount of US$360 million for grain importation pledged by our Development Partners.  I wish to appreciate and thank the private sector and Development Partners who have joined hands with Government to ensure that our people get sufficient food supplies.

Government has introduced the Command Agriculture Special Maize and Small Grains Production Programmes, targeting a minimum of two million tonnes of maize from both irrigable and dry land farms among A1, A2 and small-holder farmers.  In addition, Government is also rolling out the Presidential Inputs Support Scheme to support 800 000 communal farmers.  Our aim is to revitalise agricultural productivity, so as to assure ourselves of national food security.

Beyond tobacco production, which has immensely recovered in the last few years, Government will support the farming production of a number of other crops such as soya beans, wheat and cotton.  Government is working on the resuscitation of cotton production in the forthcoming two seasons, by providing inputs to cotton farmers.  It is also part of the cotton resuscitation programmes to restructure the Cotton Company of Zimbabwe.

In the Livestock sector, Zimbabwe’s dairy industry is poised for further growth, as Government together with several industry players, is implementing comprehensive inclusive national milk production programmes that are set to ensure self sufficiency by 2020.  In 2015, milk production reached only 58 million litres against an estimated national demand of 120 million litres.

Madame President, Mr Speaker Sir,

It is pleasing to note that in 2016, mining generally performed positively, buoyed by favourable market prices, especially those of precious metals.  Cumulative declared mineral export shipments to June 2016, totalled US$981.4 million, contributing 63.4 per cent of national export proceeds, and the major earners being gold, platinum, diamond, ferrochrome and nickel.  Gold production by our artisanal miners has been steadily rising since the US$100 million support facility for the sector.

Madame President, Mr Speaker Sir,

I am pleased to note the tremendous progress achieved so far in accelerating the Ease of Doing Business, thereby promoting both domestic and foreign investment.  The recent promulgation of the Special Economic Zones Act should provide greater impetus to the country’s economic turnaround by facilitating foreign direct investment inflows, industrialisation, technology transfer, employment creation and increased export receipts.

Madame President, Mr Speaker Sir,

For the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF) Social Partners, as a collective, time is ripe for them to vigorously pursue the Social Contract, as agreed in the Kadoma Declaration.  Investor friendly measures to boost confidence, productivity and competitiveness, should be strengthened, while the key tenets of good corporate governance and policy consistency are also vigorously pursued.  I therefore urge all the social partners, primarily Government, Business and Labour, to work together to reduce the cost of doing business.

Madame President, Mr Speaker Sir,

Tourism continues to experience tremendous growth and development.  During the first half of 2016, Zimbabwe recorded a total of 902 435 tourist arrivals, receiving a significant increase from Asia and America.   The average national room occupancy rate has marginally increased from 41per cent to 42 per cent.  By year end, it is forecast that Zimbabwe will record 2.5 million tourist arrivals, which contributes to the GDP per cent.  The peace and tranquillity that we enjoy as a country positively contributes to the success achieved in tourism.

Madame President, Mr Speaker Sir,

The Small and Medium Enterprises and Cooperative Development Ministry plays a vital role in the growth of our economy.  Government capacitates this sector through training, infrastructure provision, marketing and the creation of linkages and entrepreneurship development.  In order to improve access to finance by SMEs and Cooperatives, Government approved the establishment of a microfinance bank under the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Corporation.  The bank will be capitalised through the issuance of Treasury Bills valued at US$10 million.

Madame President, Mr Speaker Sir,

In pursuit of Gender Equality and Women Empowerment, Government has, since Independence, introduced programmes to empower women economically, socially and politically.  To this end, we have put high on the agenda the establishment of a Women’s Micro-Finance bank.  This will assist women to establish and grow their business in the various sectors of our economy.   It is incumbent upon Government to ensure that funds are availed in order for the bank to be operational.

Madame President, Mr Speaker Sir,

Government is concerned about the high levels of Gender Based Violence (GBV), particularly against women and girls.  In response, Zimbabwe Republic Police and Courts have collaborated in establishing an elaborate multi-sectoral gender based violence mechanism.   Victim Friendly systems are determined to fight gender based violence in all its forms.  Government appeals to churches and community leaders to take a leading role in shaping an appropriate social fabric and moral behaviour in our society.

Madame President, Mr Speaker Sir,

The 2015 Zimbabwe Demographic and Health Survey results have shown an improved child mortality for the under 5’s,  and also an improved child nutrition status, with child stunting going down from 35 per cent  to 27 per cent; and an increased ante-natal care for pregnant women.  It is pleasing to note that such good results have been achieved at a low cost.

Madame President, Mr Speaker Sir,

This year the power supply in the country improved significantly, with minimal load shedding since the beginning of 2016.  This is largely due to measures which were instituted at the end of 2015, such as enhancing generation from Hwange Power Station and increasing imports from the region.  Government is also working on increasing local power generation to close the local power production deficit.

Madame President, Mr Speaker Sir,

The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has designed a comprehensive Curriculum Framework for Primary and Secondary Education.  The Curriculum Framework aims at equipping learners with capacities for creativity, problem-solving, decision-making, entrepreneurial and collaborative skills and team building.  This prepares learners to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Arts, Visual and Performing Arts, Humanities and Languages, Design and Technology, and Commercials.

In order to promote human capital development, Government has begun implementing the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) policy strategy.  The STEM initiative has seen the enrolment of over 5 000 students to study ‘A’ level Mathematics and any two science subjects.  This is aimed at the development of STEM skills to support Zimbabwe’s quest for industrialisation and modernisation.

Madame President, Mr Speaker Sir,

In line with ZIM ASSET objectives  Government this year created 69 648 stands for the National Housing Delivery Programme.  It is also working on availing land to formerly disadvantaged groups, including Youths and Women, in support of Youth and Women Empowerment and Development programmes.  Government has also designated the Urban Development Corporation (UDCORP), to spearhead urban development in general and housing delivery in particular.  UDCORP is championing the development of stand-alone urban centres which will be developed in Chishawasha B, Knockmalloch near Norton, and Umvutcha in Bulawayo.

Madame President, Mr Speaker Sir,

Following the adoption by Government of the 2015 Civil Service Audit Report, the Public Service Commission aims to re-align, rationalise and restructure line Ministries and Government establishments.  The Commission is currently implementing a number of structural reforms including the abolition of redundant and vacant non-critical posts. It is also in the process of rationalising the duplications and overlaps of functions between and among some line Ministries, and is carrying out job reengineering, job enrichment and multi-skilling.  The resultant effect would be leaner and flatter structures that are economic and would thus enhance effective and quality service delivery.

Madame President, Mr Speaker Sir

Zimbabwe made history and left a permanent mark at both the regional and continental levels following our chairing of both SADC and the AU in 2014 and 2015.  The country championed the development and adoption of a regional industrialisation strategy hinged on value addition and beneficiation.  Zimbabwe also steered the adoption of the AU Agenda 2063, which is Africa’s development blueprint.  Meanwhile, we continue to call for the weaning of both SADC and the AU from overdependence on foreign funding, especially on critical issues of peace and security.

Madame President, Mr. Speaker Sir,

Zimbabwe is proud of its Defence and Security Forces who consistently execute their Constitutional mandate of safeguarding the country’s national sovereignty, territorial integrity, independence, peace and stability.  Externally, the Zimbabwe Security and Defence Forces contribute to international peace and stability by participating in United Nations, African Union and SADC peace support initiatives.

Madam President, Mr. Speaker Sir,

Let me conclude by paying tribute to our peace loving people, who have endured all manner of economic hardships since we embarked on the historic Land Reform Programme.  I wish to commend them for their resilience, and urge them to cherish the peace and tranquillity that continues to be the envy of many.  Let us continue to find national pride in our core values of unity, hard work and freedom.  But lest we forget, let us pray to the Almighty to graciously open the heavens for more rain this season!

Madame President, Mr. Speaker Sir,

I wish to take this opportunity to wish the Nation an accident free Festive Season and a Happy and Prosperous 2017.

Tatenda!

Siyabonga!

I thank you.

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