|Zanu-PF’s 16th Annual National People’s Conference currently underway in Masvingo officially opens today having been preceded by a Politburo meeting and the 104th Ordinary Session of the party’s Central Committee in Harare .|
This year’s theme is “Moving with Zim-Asset in Peace and Unity.” An estimated 7 000 ruling party delegates are attending the event that is scheduled to end tomorrow (Saturday). In addition to the party’s local structures, its branches in countries such as South Africa and Britain are also in attendance.
The conference is being held on the back of continuing economic challenges with ordinary people struggling under a cash crisis, where queues have become a permanent feature at banking halls nationwide. Businesses are also stressed while others are downsizing.
The working conditions for a majority of the workers remain poor as employers desperately try to cut costs to remain in business.
The conference theme for this year, “Moving with Zim-Asset in Peace and Unity” fits perfectly into the programmes that the Government has already started working on in order to fix the economic challenges.
One of the measures, Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016 (SI 64/2016) gazetted by the Government, has a prime effect of stirring domestic productivity and encouraging consumption of locally produced products. This would ultimately protect local manufacturing industries against foreign companies which are enjoying competitive advantage owing to low production costs in the countries of origin as compared to the local macro-business environment.
SI 64/2016 did not impose a ban on the importation of foreign goods, but seeks control of goods as a regulatory measure to promote a workable balance of trade. Whenever, a country exports to other countries or imports from other countries, then the difference between the export and import is known as balance of trade. If the export of goods is greater than the import of goods then the different between the export and import is positive and said that the country has positive balance of trade. On the other hand if the export is less than the import then the balance of trade will be negative and this situation creates trade deficit.
The later represents our own situation which then precipitated the promulgation of the ‘contentious’ statutory instrument. Logically we should aim to achieve the former in order to improve our economy which demands such measures for it to recover.
There is a point of concern for the country like ours having deficit in current account since it generates the long term liability for the country. Government technically did not ban imports, but instead it regulated the influx as up this day in continues to issue import licences to individuals that need to engage into cross border trading. This offers an import quota which is a limit on the quantity of a good that can be produced abroad and sold domestically.
This is a type of protectionist trade restrict that sets a physical limit on the quantity of a good that can be imported into a country in a given period of time. It is worth noting that the primary goal of import quotas is to reduce imports and increase domestic production of a good, service, or activity, thus protecting domestic production by restricting foreign competition. Domestic firms benefit with higher sales, greater profits, and more income to resource owners.
The conference theme also emphasizes on the importance of peace and unity in order to achieve the objectives spelt out in the Zim-Asset programme. This was further underlined by President Mugabe on Wednesday, where he implored party members to focus on rebuilding the economy and patch up differences during the Central Committee meeting.
President Mugabe was forthright in calling on Zanu-PF members to hold the conference as one political family and forge ahead with a resolve stop the fights among party officials and instead move on in unity, friendship and peace.
In his candid address, the President bemoaned the failure by the party leadership to demonstrate high levels of maturity and discipline that is expected of them, and deplored the imposition of candidates during elections.
It is therefore our strong belief that all right thinking party members should take heed of the important messages in the President’s address, direct all their energies towards rebuilding the economy and addressing the bread and butter issues affecting ordinary people, who voted the party into power.
We wish Zanu-PF a peaceful and productive conference.