Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa says Government requires at least $2.7 billion over two years to 2018 to implement projects under the Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy for the country.
Speaking at the launch of the Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (2016-2018) Chinamasa said about $800 mln had already been secured under on-going poverty reduction related programmes by both Government and Development Partners.
“The estimated resource requirements for the implementation of planned programmes and projects underpinning this I-PRSP amount to at least $2.7 billion over the two-year duration to 2018.
“Of this amount, approximately $800 million has already been secured under the on-going poverty reduction related programmes by both Government and Development Partners.
“This leaves a balance of about $1.9 billion which will be mobilised through the national budget, co-operating partners as well as other domestic and external sources,” he said.
Minister Chinamasa also said that Government had secured $423 million towards supporting the 2016/2017 agricultural season while a further $500 million was under negotiation.
“Agricultural remains the anchor of poverty reduction and this was a common outcome throughout the consultations. Accordingly, this Pillar recognises the important role of agriculture as the backbone of the economy.
“Proposed interventions are centred around guaranteeing food security through special maize production, enhancing productivity, expanding irrigation rehabilitation and development in view of the risks associated with climate change, providing access to sustainable and affordable capital, access to markets for agriculture commodities and revival of agricultural parastatals.
“On our part for the 2016/2017 agricultural season we are putting our money where our mouth is. Already Government secured more than $423 million towards supporting the 2016/2017 agricultural season and the objective is to be self-sufficient in food security in the event that heavens smile on us and give us normal rains this season.”
Zimbabwe is experiencing a combination of structural poverty rooted in an inherited dualistic enclave economy and transient poverty resulting from some policies implemented over the past three and a half decades.
The historical context of pervasive dualism in the economy, combined with the challenging economic and social context in the past three and half decades of independence, underlie the four-fold challenges of poverty, inequality, unemployment and under-employment, being experienced in Zimbabwe.
Even though the high poverty levels are largely structural in nature, they are also worsened by temporary factors such as economic policy and political factors and exogenous factors such as the HIV and AIDS epidemic and climate change, among others.
According to Chinamasa, while over the years Government has succeeded in halving the population in extreme poverty from 44 percent in 1995 to 22 percent in 2012, poverty levels as measured by the Total Consumption Poverty Line has remained high at over 70 percent.
It is therefore against this background that Government formulated the Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy for Zimbabwe (I-PRSP):2016 to 2018 which will be anchored by seven pillars which are overall underpinned by agriculture.
The Finance Minister said stakeholders, including private sector and development partners should complement government in mobilising and channelling resources to finance the identified gap.
“It is only through such a broad partnership approach to development in which all stakeholders work together that we can reduce poverty,” he said.
The I-PRSP will be under implementation for a period to 2018 and is a precursor to the full PRSP to be developed over approximately two years.
The full PRSP will be a five year programme anchored on a successor programme to Zim Asset and this process will facilitate sustained poverty eradication interventions to be clearly reflected in the country’s economic reform programmes.
According to Chinamasa, Treasury also intends to use the document as a basis for negotiations to secure funding from the World Bank in the event that Zimbabwe World Bank relations are normalized following successful clearance of arrears. It will also be used in guiding Government policy formulation.
The Zimbabwe I-PRSP consists of six pillars; the first pillar being Agriculture Productivity, Growth and Rural Food Security followed by Social Sector Policies and Expenditures as the second pillar. The third pillar under the programme is Private Sector after which Infrastructure follows as pillar four. Environment and Climate Change makes the fifth pillar, the sixth pillar is Gender Development and final pillar is Strengthening Governance and Institutional Capacity.